Steph Curry drops 41 in preseason finale

What we learned as Warriors finish off undefeated preseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — Amid moments sloppy, ragged and uneven, Stephen Curry introduced beauty to the Warriors-Trail Blazers preseason game Friday night at Chase Center.

Scoring 41 points in 30 minutes, Curry gave the sellout crowd (18,064) a jolt of joy that led directly to M-V-P! chants in the third quarter of a 119-97 victory that allowed the Warriors to wrap up the preseason with a 5-0 record.

Three other Warriors scored in double figures, led by Jordan Poole’s 16 points in 24 minutes. 

Here are three takeaways from the preseason finale:

The Curry File

He’s ready.

With star point guard Damian Lillard given the night off, the Blazers started Dennis Smith Jr. and assigned him to Curry. Smith was whistled for a foul 21 seconds into the game. That was enough to kickstart Curry.

He responded by scoring 21 points in 18 first-half minutes, including 15 over the final 6:11.

That’s the thing about Curry. He felt Smith trying to present a real challenge and responded by impolitely reminding him that they play at different levels, in different leagues.

Playing in three quarters in his usual rotation — full first and third quarters, back half of the second — Curry’s 41 points came on 13-of-23 shooting from the field, including 7-of-14 from distance. He also led the Warriors in rebounds with nine.

Aside from the conversation surrounding his COVID-19 vaccination status, Andrew Wiggins has had a very quiet preseason. Too quiet. It’s not that he looks particularly sluggish, it’s more a matter of him not making much of an impact. 

Story continues

Since scoring 13 points (5-of-10 shooting, 2-of-5 from deep) in the preseason opener, Wiggins has gone flat. After going 3-of-9 from the field, 1-of-4 from distance in this game, he’s now 8-of-28 from the field and 2-of-13 over his last three appearances.

Maybe Wiggins is using the preseason for conditioning and reacquainting himself with his teammates. Maybe he’s in a mini-slump. Regardless, the Warriors would like their small forward to find some rhythm before the regular season opens on Tuesday.

Triples Alley

Having averaged 55 3-point shot attempts through their first four games — launching 69 in their first meeting with Portland — the Warriors tapered off at 46 in the finale.

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That’s probably going to be the norm, at least to start the season. Coach Steve Kerr has consistently said there is no particular number of 3-pointers that he wants the Warriors to shoot, nor is there a limit. His request is “that they be good shots.”

For the most part, their triples were good shots in this game and have been throughout the preseason. They entered the night shooting 34.5 percent from deep and remained at roughly the same accuracy after going 16-of-46 (34.8 percent).

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