Stephen Curry overtakes Ray Allen for NBA's all-time 3-point lead
With his second 3 on Tuesday, the Warriors' star guard eclipses the all-time record after tying it in the opening minutes.
NEW YORK — Steve Kerr scanned the box score and alerted the room to the figure popping off the page illustrating Stephen Curry’s impact on the game.
In the aftermath of Curry becoming the NBA’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers Tuesday in a 105-96 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Kerr counted the combined attempts from long distance for both teams.
“There were 82 3-pointers taken tonight,” he said. “So, on a night when he broke the record, the sum of both teams’ 3-point attempts was kind of a testament to Steph’s impact on the league. It’s a different game [now], obviously. But Steph made it a different game.”
Curry nailed a pair of first-quarter triples to move past Ray Allen and seize the top spot on the NBA’s list for all-time made 3-pointers and finished the game with five 3s and a team-high 22 points. The Warriors guard broke the record over the course of 789 games — 511 fewer than it took Allen (1,300) to reach the milestone.
Curry has said that once he breaks the record, everything else would “just be about how far can you push it.”
Well, Curry now needs to knock down just 23 more 3-pointers to reach 3,000 for his career, a threshold no player in NBA history has reached.
All-Time Leaderboard: 3-Pointers Made
Curry wasted no time launching his first shot of the game from deep, sinking a 29-footer barely one minute into the action to give the Warriors a 5-2 lead. The record-setting bucket came at the 7:32 mark on a play that Curry didn’t even expect to get the ball. Curry said Golden State runs the play often, but Andrew Wiggins “never passes out of that play,” according to Draymond Green.
“I made the first one in transition,” Curry explained. “Then, like the next two or three possessions, I got the ball coming down and I could see everybody on that end of the stadium just start to slowly stand up and there was like a buzz. So, I didn’t want to rush it because that’s when you kind of get in your head and try to like force the moment.
“The way that it happened: Wigs came off a screen, I kind of floated back to the 3-point line. I didn’t think I was getting the ball. He hit me. I thought about nothing. I just let it go. After that, the emotions started kicking. So, I just wanted to let it come. It was a pretty special moment.”
Kevon Looney immediately took a foul to force a stoppage in play, and officials allowed for an extended timeout so the packed house at Madison Square Garden could properly acknowledge Curry’s historic milestone.
Curry walked around the court hugging several people, then sat down on the bench before sharing a long moment with Green.
“[I felt] a lot of gratitude and excitement for him,” Green said of their long embrace near the bench. “I always say, ‘If you can’t pass Steph Curry the ball for a 3-point shot, shame on you. If you can’t screen for Steph Curry and get him open, you probably shouldn’t be on the court as a screener.
“He makes my job a lot easier, and to share that moment with him … I’m in Year 10 now. Every game I’ve played, he’s been my teammate. To share that moment with someone that’s as special to me as Steph is, that was a really big deal. To see him have that moment, [I] was just honored to be a part of it.”
Curry also embraced former record-holder Allen while childhood idol Reggie Miller — on the call for TNT — filmed the historic event with a smartphone only a few feet away.
Celebrities on hand for the MSG moment included musician Alicia Keys, former NFL star and TV host Michael Strahan, comedian Pete Davidson and Steph’s parents, Dell and Sonya Curry.
Steph would eventually hand off the record-setting ball to his father, Dell.
“I shot it. I backtracked. I saw my Pops over on the side,” Curry said. “I saw my teammates going crazy. I felt the whole buzz of the whole arena. So, it was special.”
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Travel issues for the Warriors getting to Madison Square Garden only heightened the drama. After Golden State edged the Indiana Pacers on Monday to avoid consecutive losses for the first time all season, Kerr and a few players took care of postgame interviews.
But the Warriors soon received news about mechanical issues affecting their chartered plane. That forced the team to hang around Gainbridge Fieldhouse for approximately an hour, according to Kerr, as they awaited word on whether the Warriors would even be able to fly out of Indianapolis.
Negative. So, the Warriors loaded up the buses and headed back to The Conrad hotel to spend another night in town. They didn’t depart Indianapolis until 10:35 a.m. on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip at Madison Square Garden.
Kerr accurately predicted the travel woes wouldn’t affect the team.
Still, in the first two games of Golden State’s current five-game road trip, Curry had connected on just 8 of 29 from 3-point range. Kerr attributed that to a combination of opponents selling out to stop Curry, who he believes had been “pressing” somewhat.
That’s all over now, and in Curry’s postgame speech in the locker room (where Klay Thompson’s jersey was situated right next to the point guard’s for the occasion), he touched Kerr, Green, Wiggins and the rest of the team with a heartfelt expression of gratitude. Kerr called the speech “vintage Steph,” adding that he spoke to the team about how much his teammates, the game, and the process of grinding through a season meant to him.
“I love to shoot the ball. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was 3 years old,” Curry explained. “You love the work that you put in. You love the results that come from it. But I told them it’s been an amazing journey being a Warrior for these 12 ½ years [with] all the guys that have set screens for me, that have passed me the ball, that have bought into the system that creates that beautiful Warriors style and brand of basketball, [and] all of that plays into this moment.
“So, I hope that they appreciate it as much as I do. Obviously, I’ve got to put the ball in the basket, but it doesn’t work without everybody that’s been a part of this journey.”
Curry lit up the Knicks for 11 3-pointers at Madison Square Garden back in Feb. 27, 2013, which ranks as the most in NBA history in that arena by an opposing player. Allen drilled eight 3s at the Garden back in 2002. In the postseason, both Allen (eight) and Miller (six) rank among the top three in 3-pointers made by a visitor in a playoff game at Madison Square Garden.
Curry expressed plenty of deference for both Allen and Miller, who opened the door for the point guard to take the game to new heights.
“I never wanted to call myself the greatest shooter until I got this record,” Curry said. “So, I’m comfortable saying that now. No better scenario to have Ray in the building, have Reggie on the call, to have my family here.”
Kerr even admitted that perhaps Curry’s story transcends sports, pointing out the point guard “changed the way the game is played,” not to mention “the way that young players think about the game.”
“It’s definitely a story that rings true to a lot of people who aren’t huge basketball fans,” Kerr said. “Steph appeals to everyone, not just hardcore fans who are looking at his 3-point percentage. I think fans are attracted to him just because of his humility, his story and how hard he’s had to work. So, from that standpoint, it transcends sports somewhat.
“I just think it’s a great testament to someone who is gifted, but who has earned everything through work. Beyond the gifts that he was given, he had to work so hard. And he’s always been so gracious and aware of how many people helped him along the way. That’s one of my favorite things about him.”
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