Moments after his Golden State Warriors ripped the Pepsi Center nets for 14 3-point shots and 131 points to stun the Denver Nuggets by a whopping 14 points Tuesday night, Mark Jackson boasted that his team may have the best shooting backcourt in NBA history.
”We are a very good shooting basketball team,” the Warriors coach told reporters after Golden State evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1. ”We’ve got guys that can knock down shots. You talk about Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, in my opinion, they’re the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game.”
Wow! That is something coming from a guy who played with Hall-of-Famer and 3-point specialist Reggie Miller for six seasons in Indiana. As much as we’d like to disagree with Jackson, he makes a valid point.
Thompson, the son of former Blazer and Laker great Mychal Thompson, has knocked down 322 3-point shots in his first two seasons. He made 211 treys this year, which could easily have led the league except he had a teammate who had 272 threes. Curry broke Ray Allen’s single-season NBA record for most 3-point shots made, and hit a mind-boggling 45% of his shots from beyond the arc.
Curry may have the best shooting stroke in basketball, period. His jump shot is pure perfection. Once he gets his feet set, the shot is almost automatic. His technique is so good it’s almost a surprise when he misses.
The son of Dell Curry is putting on a shooting so far in the 2013 NBA playoffs, lighting up Denver for 30 points in Game 2, including 4-for-10 from 3-point range. As a team the Warriors were 14-for-25 on 3-balls and shot a sizzling 61% from the field Tuesday night. Golden State silenced the raucous Pepsi Center crowd despite not having All-Star forward David Lee, who is out for the year with a bad hip.
“It’s a big win for us. Everybody contributed, and that’s how we have to play without D. Lee,” said Curry, who also dished out 13 assists.
Give Jackson a lot of credit for the win because he didn’t panic when Lee went down, and his decision to insert point guard Jarrett Jack into the starting lineup may have turned this series around. The three-guard look paid off, as the Warriors played faster and gave the Nuggets fits.
“They were knocking down shots from everywhere,” Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala said. “They kept attacking us, especially our pick-and-roll defense. In the fourth quarter, Steph was making shots for them.”
Jackson moved rookie forward Harrison Barnes to the power forward spot, Lee’s usual spot, and the adjustment not only put another outside shooter on the court but it also negated Wilson Chandler’s advantage at the stretch 4 position.
“It was a different lineup. We started (Jarrett) Jack, so we were small. With Harrison (Barnes) at the four, we match up better,” Curry said. “We were able to space the floor. Every play we ran we had good looks because the ball was moving. It forced them to react to us instead of the other way around.”
Barnes finished with 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting, Jack scored 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting in 42 minutes, and Klay Thompson added 21 points and knocked down five of his six 3-point shots.
“If we try to outshoot this team, it’s crazy. They may be the best shooting team in the NBA, and the best I’ve seen in a long time,” Nuggets coach George Karl said of the Warriors.