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Red-hot Curry puts Golden State on cusp of Finals

Warriors star takes care of Rockets -- and any doubts he's the MVP

POSTED: May 24, 2015 3:12 AM ET

By Fran Blinebury

BY Fran Blinebury

NBA.com

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GameTime: Postgame Analysis of Warriors and Rockets Game 3

The GameTime crew provide analysis of the Warriors and Rockets game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

— Steph was Steph.

A silk buzzsaw, a lacquered jackhammer, steel-belted seduction, a digital prayer.

Roget's just going to have to publish another Thesaurus by the time the Warriors get to the NBA Finals, which could be in just one more game, if Stephen Curry has anything to do with it.

And he always does.

There was Curry going right to score over Josh Smith, going left to score over Trevor Ariza and going straight down the middle to score over, well, anything that stood in his path.

Gentle floaters and heat-seeking missiles that never even bother to check in with I.D. for the bouncer that is the rim before settling into the VIP section at the bottom of the net.

The record book now says that after hitting 7-for-9 from long range to ignite his 40-point, seven-assist, five-rebound, two-steal bonfire and an embarrassing 115-80 beatdown of the Rockets, Curry is now the most prolific 3-point shooter in the history of the playoffs, passing the legendary likes of Reggie Miller and Ray Allen.

Your eyes that pop wide open, your ears that can hear the wind getting sucked right out of the arena and any sense of innate rhythm that runs from your head to your feet say you don't need any list of numbers to tell you he's a completely different breed of cat.

Warriors Roll In Game 3

Stephen Curry scored 40 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out seven assists to lead the Warriors to the Game 3 victory over the Rockets, 115-80.

"I think it's the ball-handling that leads to the shot," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "People ask me all the time who I would compare him with. I played with Mark Price years ago. Mark had a skill set that was really fun to watch, great ball handler, quick pull-up on a dime. Steve Nash, although Steve really preferred to make the pass and he was a reluctant shooter, could still shoot off the dribble.

"But I don't think we've seen anybody this quick, [with] ability to create space and then pull up and six, seven feet beyond the line, with this kind of fearlessness and confidence. He's really something."

That was perhaps one thing a few of the swells in the high-priced front row seats were saying midway through the third quarter when Curry grabbed the rebound off a missed layup by Klay Thompson, ran to the left corner, turned to drill one more trey, stared at the crowd, then removed his mouthpiece to return verbal fire.

"That's the fun with playoff basketball on the road," Curry said. "You've got hecklers and guys up close that paid of a lot of money for those seats that want to get their money's worth. It's fun. You know, those are just genuine reactions.

"I think the one in the corner, a guy said — it was a four-letter word I can't repeat. But that's the one I turned around and just said, 'Sit down.' Just having fun with him, go about my business, get back on defense. If they want to talk, hopefully they can take some back in my fashion."

Curry Dishes It Out

Stephen Curry hits another three-pointer and engages with the crowd after the shot.

The Rockets certainly couldn't take anything, coming out in the biggest game of their season lifeless, clueless and uninspired as the Warriors descended like a swarm of locusts on the crops. The first half, when they locked down on defense, attacked relentlessly on offense and committed only one turnover, might have been the best stretch by the Warriors in the playoffs.

Gone along with the Rockets' dignity is any last lingering debate over the MVP award as James Harden made just 3 of 16 shots for 17 points and watched the entire fourth quarter from the bench as Curry turned the Toyota Center into his own garage.

When he wasn't slinging in buckets from behind the 3-point line, Curry was flitting and darting into the paint and then putting up teasing, tantalizing scoop shots over the fingertips of the frustrated Rockets big men, kissing them off the glass like farewell messages to a jilted lover.

But for all those light-footed moves, it was a black-hearted maneuver down in close to the hoop that was his play of the day and maybe the playoffs.

When Thompson's second-quarter 17-foot jumper came up short of the rim, it was the skinny 6-foot-3 Curry that sealed off 6-11 erstwhile Superman Dwight Howard and all his muscles with a textbook box-out, lassoed the rebound with just his left arm and got up a quick shot with his right to draw a foul on the Rockets' center. He just cleared big ol' Dwight right out of the way and did what he wanted, what he needed, to do. And the Rockets soon after laid down.

Curry vs. Howard

Stephen Curry boxes out Dwight Howard for the rebound and draws the foul.

Those are the intuitive, hustling, you're-not-supposed-to-do-that plays that can make a game or a series or a season and they're the kind that the Warriors, and especially Curry, have been making since October when this remarkable run began.

"I've been in the league 11 years, seen a lot of great players," said teammate Andre Iguodala. " Everybody has talent. Everybody has the opportunity to maximize their talent. There's a crop of guys who have special talent. Only a small percentage of that crop maximize it, and he's one of those guys. He loves playing the game. He's a ball player."

Really all that needs to be said.

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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