The Warriors’ star point guard stepped onto the Oracle Arena floor last night for the first time since October 30 in a fitting NBA Finals rematch against the Toronto Raptors.
Although the Six got the best of Golden State in a 121-113 victory and clinched a playoff spot once more, it was as though Curry had never left. #30 racked up a team-high 23 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in 26 minutes, as he dispelled fears surrounding any long-term impact on the mechanics of his shot.
Missing his first two attempts, Curry quickly recovered to hand out three quick assists, one of which was a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Andrew Wiggins. As the crowd went wild and roared for the two-time MVP, he claimed a 17-footer for his first bucket early in the second frame and another from deep just before half-time.
Curry’s numbers may have looked slightly underwhelming by his own standards but he certainly didn’t shy away from contact given the circumstances and with time his shot is sure to improve beyond yesterday’s 37.5%. However, the superstar will be limited on minutes until his hand health is back to 100%.
Speaking before the game, Curry said:
“It feels like the first day of school pretty much all over again. It’s kind of just getting back to enjoying playing basketball at the highest level. There’s a process to that.”
However, the Raptors showed that they would not be phased by Curry’s return and reminded Golden State of last year’s finals run where Toronto buried them in just six games. Norman Powell scored a career-high 37 points on 13-for-20 shooting from the field and 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.
Kyle Lowry hit a double-double with 26 points and 10 assists, powering his team to join the Milwaukee Bucks as the only teams to secure their playoff spot. Rising star Pascal Siakham endured a more difficult game but came up clutch when it mattered down the stretch with two big baskets.
Overall, the Raptors came up better on all aspects of shooting with 90.3% from the line, 31.7% from three and 48.2% from the field, compared to Golden State’s 76%, 26.9% and 40.8%. They also retained greater ball control with 12 turnovers and 10 steals compared to the Warriors’ 15 turnovers and just four steals.
With Curry working his way back into the general swing of things, Golden State will face the Philadelphia 76ers at home on Saturday whilst the Raptors improve their stats to 44-18 and sit comfortably as second in the Eastern Conference.
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