Last week, we took a look back at some of the more impressive team-related tidbits from the Warriors’ 2012-13 season. Today, we’ll dive into some of the standout individual performances from a season that was chock-full of them. And while there are many to choose from, we’ll start with the player who perhaps best personifies the Warriors’ breakthrough campaign…
First up: Stephen Curry
After an injury-plagued 2011-12 campaign, the most important stat in a record-setting year for Stephen Curry might have been that he played in 90 of the team’s combined 94 regular and postseason games—his 78 regular season games played tripled the amount of appearances he made in 2011-12 (26). If that’s the case, then his NBA-record 272 three-pointers, NBA season-high 54 points at Madison Square Garden and dazzling postseason run all tied for a close second.
We’ll give precedence to the NBA record, because whenever somebody passes Ray Allen—the NBA’s all-time three-point leader—in a three-point category, it’s a pretty big deal. Curry’s 272 threes eclipsed the 269 that Allen hit with the Sonics in 2005-06, despite Curry taking 53 fewer attempts than Allen did. As for the Warriors’ team record, Curry took care of that with more than a month remaining in the season, eventually besting Dorell Wright’s mark of 194 (set in 2010-11) by a whopping 78 threes.
The Warriors’ floor general became the first player in NBA history with at least 250 threes and 500 assists in a single season (likewise, he’s the only player to average at least three three-pointers and six assists per game) and the second-ever to hit at least 200 threes on 45 percent-or-better from long range, joining Glen Rice in 1995-96. Curry had eight games with at least seven three-pointers (no other player had more than four such games in 2012-13), becoming the first Warrior ever to hit seven threes in consecutive games—which he did on three occasions. Now in his fourth year with the Warriors, Curry already ranks second on the team’s all-time three-point field goals list with 644, behind only Jason Richardson’s 700.
Curry’s three-point prowess was not limited to the regular season. He hit 42 threes over 12 playoff games, becoming the franchise’s career postseason three-point leader (previously was Richardson with 29) and giving him a total of 314 threes in 2012-13, the first player in NBA history to reach the 300 three-pointer milestone combined in the regular and postseason.
It wouldn’t be fair to measure Curry only by what he accomplished from beyond the arc, though. His season averages of 22.9 points, 6.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds made him only the fourth player in team history to average at least 22 points, six assists and four rebounds in a season, joining Rick Barry, Tim Hardaway and Latrell Sprewell, and he was one of just four players to do so in the NBA, along with First Team All-NBAers LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and Second Teamer Russell Westbrook.
|22 PTS/6 AST/4 REB, 2012-13|
Curry closed the season even stronger, averaging 26.0 points after the All-Star Break, and in April he became just the third Warriors player to win the Western Conference Player of the Month award, joining Chris Mullin (November, 1990 & January, 1989) and Bernard King (January, 1981) in Warriors annals. In the postseason, a 44-point/11-assist outburst from Curry in Game 1 of the Western Semis at San Antonio on May 6 marked the highest playoff scoring performance by a Warrior since Sleepy Floyd went for 51 on May 10, 1987 vs. the Lakers and made him the first player since Michael Jordan in 1990 to go for at least 44 points and 11 assists in the playoffs. Curry’s postseason averages of 23.4 points and 8.1 assists joined him with Tim Hardaway (1991) as the only players in franchise history to average 23 points and eight assists in the playoffs.
About that 54-point game: Curry’s career-high at the Knicks on February 27 was also the highest scoring performance by anyone in the league in 2012-13 and included a franchise-record 11 threes (one shy of the NBA record). Curry’s 54 points were the most by a Warrior since Purvis Short tallied 59 points on November 17, 1984, and only Short, Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Joe Fulks have recorded higher scoring games with the Warriors.
Aside from the impressive point total, it was the historic venue that made the night so special. Since Madison Square Garden reopened in 1968 at its present location, only two other visiting players have scored more than Curry’s 54 points: Kobe Bryant (61 in 2009) and Michael Jordan (55 in 1995). On April 12, Curry threatened his own season-high with 47 points at the Staples Center, becoming the first Warrior since Rick Barry in 1966 to score at least 45 points on the road against the Knicks and Lakers. Those two performances gave Curry two of the league’s top six scoring games in 2012-13.
As always, be sure to check out @gswstats for more odds and ends throughout the offseason. We’ll continue our breakdown of the top individual performances of the 2012-13 season in the coming days. Next up, David Lee and Jarrett Jack.