Stephen Curry made the shot when it mattered – but only then.
Amid the worst shooting skid of his career, Curry ended another strange streak on Friday, when the best shooter in NBA history sunk his first game-winning buzzer-beater.
With 5.1 seconds left and the score tied in San Francisco, Curry caught an in-bounds pass, drove to the top of the key and used a step-back to clear space from Houston’s Kevin Porter Jr. His jumper, about 2 feet in from the 3-point arc, swished through as the buzzer sounded in a 105-103 Warriors win that was rare from start to finish.
Curry did not hit a shot until his 12th try, a 3-pointer in the closing minutes of the first half. He finished with 22 points on 6-of-21 from the field.
He has scored at least 30 points in just one of Golden State’s last 11 games. A career 47.3 percent shooter is draining 37.1 percent of his shots this month. A career 42.9 percent 3-point artist is sinking 32.7 percent of his treys in January.
“I know I got to shoot the ball better,” Curry told reporters, via ESPN. “I want to shoot it better, and I’m gonna shoot it better. … I obsess over the shooting numbers because that’s what I do and that’s what I work on. When you don’t reach those levels, it’s frustrating.”
His season, which featured his becoming the all-time 3-point leader, statistically might be the worst of his career because of the funk he has found himself in. Excluding his five-game 2019-20 sample, Curry carries the worst field goal and 3-point percentage of his career.
At 38.4 percent, the 33-year-old is 51st this campaign in 3-point percentage, not even the best in his family. (Philadelphia’s Seth Curry is 15th at 41.7 percent.)
“I’m just missing shots,” said Curry, who did not have another explanation. “There’s no reason, other than you just miss shots.”
Still, the Warriors (33-13) are second in the West, are building up Klay Thompson and hope to have 2020 second-overall pick James Wiseman back at some point this season. If they want to knock off the Suns and perhaps Nets, though, they will need Curry to figure it out.