It seems inconceivable that a player already thought of as the greatest shooter in NBA history could elevate his game even higher.
Stephen Curry is doing just that.
Curry extended his remarkable scoring streak Monday with 49 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 107-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Curry has scored at least 30 points in 11 consecutive games. It’s the longest such streak in league history by a player 33 or older, surpassing Kobe Bryant, who had 10 straight 30-point games in 2012.
“You don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you just play basketball,” Curry said. “Being aggressive, obviously, but kind of letting the game come to you. For me, that looks a certain type of way, but I’m having a blast out there just playing basketball and it’s obviously working.”
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NBA ESSENTIALS: SCORES | SCHEDULE | STANDINGS
Curry shot 14-of-28 from the field, 10-of-17 on 3-pointers and 11-of-12 on free throws for his eighth 40-point outing of the season and fourth in the last five games. Diving deeper, Curry’s recent numbers are staggering:
► He now leads the NBA in scoring at 31.4 points per game, a career high.
► During the 11-game streak, he is averaging 40 points on 54.1% shooting overall and 49.7% from 3-point range. For the season, he’s shooting 49.1% overall and 43.1% from deep.
► He has 21 career games with at least 10 3-pointers, including six this season and four in the last five games. Teammate and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson is second with five career games with 10 3s. No other player in league history has more than three.
► He has made 72 3-pointers in the last 10 games, most ever in a 10-game stretch.
► His streak of 30-point games is the longest by a Warriors player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1964.
► With 47 and 49 points in his last two games, he is the first player 33 or older to score 45+ in back-to-back games since Michael Jordan in 2001.
“There’s something beautiful about it. It really is an art,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “What he’s doing is amazing to watch. Nobody in the history of this game has ever done what he’s doing right now.”
Here are four more things to know today in the NBA:
Jokic goes off in double OT thriller
Nikola Jokic burnished his own MVP case with a huge effort to help the Denver Nuggets edge the Memphis Grizzlies 139-137 in double overtime Monday. Jokic finished with 47 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists and put the Nuggets ahead for good with a tiebreaking 3-pointer in the final minute of the second OT. Denver has won 11 of its last 13 to climb to fourth place in the Western Conference.
For the season, Jokic is now averaging 26.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 8.8 assists on 56.9% shooting overall and 41.9% from 3-point range. And in a year where so many other top MVP candidates have missed significant time, Jokic playing every game (so far) could be the deciding factor in him taking home the trophy.
CP3 passes Magic
Chris Paul handed out 13 assists Monday to pass Magic Johnson for fifth place on the NBA’s all-time list. Paul finished the night with 10,145 career dimes to Johnson’s 10,141. He also had 22 points and seven rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns eke out a 128-127 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime.
Over the last six games, Paul has 59 total assists to just four turnovers. He called passing Johnson “surreal” and said he hopes to get the game ball autographed by the Hall of Famer. “There will never be another Magic,” Paul said. “I don’t know man. It’s surreal.”
LaMelo on the mend
Star rookie LaMelo Ball was cleared Monday to resume individual basketball activities after the cast was removed from his fractured right wrist. Ball was injured on March 20 and has missed the last 15 games for the Charlotte Hornets. Before the injury, he was the leading Rookie of the Year candidate, averaging 15.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds. The team did not say when Ball might be able to play again, but his return would be a big boost as the Hornets jockey for playoff position.
Game of the night: Clippers at Blazers
A pair of teams in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race meet in what would be a first-round matchup if the playoffs started today. The Clippers have won 14 of their last 17 to pull within two games of the Suns for second place. The Blazers are in sixth place but have lost six of nine and are trying to avoid falling to a play-in spot. They’re two games ahead of the Mavericks, but Portland has the fourth-toughest schedule the rest of the way and Dallas the second-easiest, according to tankathon.com.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.