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Sorensen: Stephen Curry plays with joy and brings me to my feet

Tom Sorensen
Tom Sorensen has been a columnist at The Observer for 20 years and has been at the paper for 25, writing about nearly every sport in the Carolinas.

I watched the Golden State-Denver game Sunday by myself, from the sofa, late at night. I’m not a loud guy. But when Stephen Curry hit a fast-break jumper from 27 feet, I jumped up and laughed so loudly I woke the dog.

No guilt; the greyhound needed to see this.

If you loved the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers, my favorite team of all time and the best team of all time, you will love Curry’s Showtime Warriors.

Curry plays with a smile, not a sneer. He’ll slap the hands of fans, play to the crowd and bring joy to a sport those 88-points-a-game teams will never attain.

Check the playoff scores. Half the winning teams don’t score 100 points. In the three playoff games Golden State has won, the losing team has.

And if you don’t think George Karl’s Nuggets or Mark Jackson’s Warriors play defense, you aren’t familiar with their work as head coaches or as players.

Of course, I’m biased. I covered Curry when the Davidson Wildcats made their NCAA tournament run five years ago. I was in Raleigh when they beat Georgetown and in Detroit when they beat Wisconsin and came so close to beating Kansas.

I wrote about Stephen’s father, Dell, when he was a Charlotte Hornet and Stephen’s younger brother, Seth, at Duke. I talked to Stephen by phone during the 2013 NCAA tournament, getting a call on a shuttle bus in downtown Philadelphia.

But you don’t have to know Stephen or his family to appreciate his work.

What do you want from sports? When you watch a game from the bleachers or on television, or listen on the radio, for what do you hope?

I want exhilaration. If the sky is as gray and bleak as Charlotte’s has been, I want bright light. I want the unbelievable. I want somebody to do something that makes me jump and shout.

Curry played at half speed in the first half, his left ankle obviously dragging him down.

In the second half, he again became a Wildcat, and Denver was Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin.

Curry scored 22 third-quarter points, 19 of them in the final 4:22.

When the ball didn’t go in, fans were shocked. When the ball did go in, they often were, too. They’d turn to each other as if to ask, “Did that really happen?”

Curry hit five 3-pointers in the quarter, each featuring strong wrists, a quick release and a no-doubt trajectory.

He went to the hoop, inadvertently bounced the ball off an opponent, caught it and dropped in a long layup.

The underdog Warriors, who are playing without their only all-star, hustling forward David Lee, lead the series three games to one.

Because of Curry’s work, the second-best player on the court, Denver point guard Ty Lawson, has attracted little attention. But Lawson, the former North Carolina point guard, has been outstanding. The Nuggets are his team, they move to his beat and what a beat it has been.

The Warriors and Nuggets play in Denver at 8 p.m.

If you need a reason to leap off the sofa, you have one.

Sorensen: 704-358-5119 or tsorensen@charlotteobserver.com
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