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Stephen Curry proves he's still a game changer in 62-point outburst

The former Kia MVP flashes his brilliance in a dazzling career night, surpassing his previous best by 8 points, as he leads the Warriors past the Trail Blazers.

Shaun Powell

Shaun Powell

Stephen Curry’s previous career high was 54 points on Feb. 27, 2013, at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

It would be wrong to say Stephen Curry had one of those nights, because even the two-time Kia MVP winner never actually had anything like this.

A six-piece? It was 62 points, to be precise, that Curry spread all over the Blazers, punishing Portland with a variety of shots taken from all over the floor Sunday in a performance that bested all other Curry performances, as absurd as that sounds.

Basically, it was Curry’s career high, and it was done six games into a season where he’ll probably be asked to come close to repeating such feats for the Warriors, who obviously are without Klay Thompson but if Steph keeps this up they won’t be without hope.

Curry went 18-for-31 from the field, 8-for-16 from beyond the arc and 18-for-19 from the free-throw line … that lone missed free throw snapped a streak of 80 straight. He also added five rebounds and four assists. He scored those 62 points in 36 minutes, and scored 30 points in both halves (a feat last accomplished by “Pistol” Pete Maravich in 1977).

It was a game that defined the skill that made Curry a game-changing player in the NBA. A handful of his 3-pointers came from well beyond the stripe, and his final shot, courtesy of a Draymond Green assist, was swished while off-balanced from deep.

Relive all the best moments from Stephen Curry’s 62-point game.

“He did a little bit of everything,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “A great performance by a great player.”

The Warriors won 137-122, which sweetened the performance by Curry, who has struggled at times this season and raised some suspicion about his ability to carry a team without a secondary scoring star. Discounting last season, Curry has enjoyed the company of Thompson for seven years, and also Kevin Durant for three of those seasons. Both players allowed the Warriors to not only win championships but stretch defenses and allow those shooters tremendous freedom.

That was something mentioned by Damian Lillard moments after Portland beat the Warriors by 25 points in the first of their back-to-back games.

“I think right now, with the injuries that the Warriors have been dealing with and Steph playing with a younger team right now, he’s seeing that it’s tough to get those quality looks right now,” Lillard said on Friday. “It’s different than what it’s looked like over the last four or five years for him. He’s trying to get quality looks and get a clean look, so he can make a good shot.”

Lillard meant no disrespect to Curry, a competitor he has always admired, but there was the ring of truth in what the Blazers guard said.  Prior to his record-setting night, Curry was shooting at career lows from the floor and beyond the 3-point line in the first five games. Obviously that was a small sample size, but enough to give some observers pause about Curry being the lonesome star on a Warriors’ team in transition.

Curry: ‘Just try to stay humble, in the moment’

About the topic of a star carrying the load, Kerr applied some perspective and said:

“If you think about most guys considered the best in the league, physical freaks of nature, LeBron, Giannis, Anthony Davis. Steph is 6-2, 180 pounds, whatever he is. He has to carry a game with skill, not physicality.”

Curry took the challenge Sunday and repeatedly and aggressively took it to the Blazers. If Thompson or Durant are on the court, Curry doesn’t bother taking 31 shots. But this is a different time, and for one night, a different Curry from a historical standpoint.

“Everything was a shot or an attack,” said Green.

With the game somewhat competitive despite Curry’s shooting, he wasn’t pulled from the game, which meant more shots and more points, although Kerr did have a thought.

“I wanted to take him out with 30 seconds left, so the 42 people in the stands could give him a standing ovation,” Kerr said.

Then he added the obvious:

“It’s just a privilege to coach him.”

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Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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