Stephen Curry came home for Thanksgiving this weekend, and everyone was glad to see him except for the Charlotte Hornets.
Curry scored 26 points – 12 of them in the fourth quarter – and had six assists in Golden State’s 106-101 win over Charlotte Friday night. It was Golden State’s eighth consecutive win and the Hornets’ eighth straight loss.
Uncharacteristically way off on the shot that made him famous, Curry went 1 for 10 from 3-point range Friday night. But he was 8 for 10 on two-pointers, including three late layups that helped seal the game.
A fortuitous quirk of the NBA schedule allowed Curry to spend Thanksgiving at home with 45 members of his extended family. Since Golden State’s golden child is a point guard, he had to make sure all his teammates got served, too. A dozen Warriors came to Dell and Sonya Curry’s house.
Dell had a karaoke machine revved up there and the best story of the night came when the former Hornet star and current team broadcaster started singing.
“Pops finished a country song,” Stephen Curry said, “and I guess in kind of cocky fashion after he hit the last note, he dropped the mic from shoulder height. Broke the mic. No more karaoke. End of the night. Mic is now in the trash can.”
The Curry family got hold of 75 tickets for Friday night’s game, which served as Stephen’s once-a-season visit to play his father’s old team. Once upon a time, Curry would run out on the old Charlotte Coliseum and hoist up shots as a kid before his father’s games.
That fairytale continued at Davidson, where Stephen Curry and coach Bob McKillop got the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 2008. And then it moved to the West Coast, where it has continued more or less unabated in Golden State (with timeout for some nasty ankle problems).
If Curry had played for Charlotte, he would rule the city. Instead, Curry has gotten so good that he has now made his way into early-season MVP consideration.
The Warriors are 13-2. First-year coach Steve Kerr has been startled – like so many through the years – by how good Curry really is.
“I don’t think anybody can play better,” Kerr said Friday. “I don’t know how you could. He’s doing everything: Taking care of the ball, draining shots from all over the court, he’s getting his teammates involved... Defensively, he’s been one of our best... If there’s anything left, let me know and I’ll tell him.”
At 26, Curry is in the prime of his NBA career. He had a 54-point game last season at Madison Square Garden. Kerr said this week, however, that Curry’s 40-point, seven-assist, six-rebound outing against Miami was “the perfect game.”
Curry’s mother, wife and daughter all watched from Time Warner Cable Arena Friday night. Dell was there announcing Steph’s game against the Hornets, as he does twice a season. It is always funny to hear Dell bend over backwards to call his son “Curry” on the telecast and try so hard not to show favoritism.
“First time all year Curry has really been in foul trouble,” Dell noted when Kemba Walker got Steph to pick up his third foul midway through the second quarter. Dell also delighted several times in pointing out Curry’s 1-for-10 shooting night from 3-point range.
Everyone knows Stephen Curry can shoot. What he has tried to do this season in particular is cut down on his turnovers. He was second to Washington’s John Wall last season in total turnovers, and earlier this season he had a 10-turnover game against Phoenix.
“It was seven or eight games ago where he really started taking care of the ball,” Kerr said. “He’s always been a high-risk, high-reward player. Last couple of weeks he’s become a low-risk, high-reward player. ... He’s really walked that line perfectly between ‘attack’ and ‘manage’ and it’s been beautiful to watch.”
Curry laughingly attributed his turnover decline – he had four Friday night – to a bet he has with his mother. “If I have over two (turnovers) in a game, I owe her some money,” Curry said. “In the Phoenix game, she racked up on me. But if I go below two, I get some money back. That’s my incentive.”
Curry didn’t need any additional incentive Friday night, though. He was home.