When the Lakers take to the court on Wednesday to face the Warriors, they’ll be tasked with slowing down a player on an all-time great run.
Since returning from a tailbone injury in late March, Stephen Curry has averaged 36.9 points per game, helping move Golden State from 10th to eighth in the Western Conference standings and leading him to claim the league’s scoring title at 32 points per game.
But just how good has he been since coming back March 29? Well, let’s just say the only players who have ended the season hotter than Curry are in the Hall of Fame.
Curry has scored at least 30 points in all but two games during his final 24 games since he returned. He has scored 885 points to average 36.9 per game in that span to wrap up the 2020-21 season. Only eight 24-game spans to end a year were better, with six players responsible for those marks, according to Basketball Reference.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, while few have ever scored as many points in a stretch as Curry, his stretch is not the best in Warriors history. That distinction belongs to Wilt Chamberlain.
Chamberlain four times scored more than 900 points in his last 24 games and has the most points ever scored down a stretch run when, in 1962, he dropped 1,228 points on opponents. That period included his historic 100-point game against the Knicks on March 2. The next season, he became the second player to score more than 1,000 down in his last 24 regular-season contests at 1,018. No one has done it since.
Since the 3-pointer was counted, however, only two players have exceeded Curry’s stretch: Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Jordan scored 899 points in 1988. Bryant, the only player among the top point-scorers ahead of Curry in the 21st century, scored 901 in 2007.
When it comes to 3-point shooting, however, Curry stands alone.
During this stretch, Curry has drained 155 3s, the most by any player in the final 24 games of a season. Damian Lillard scored 127 in his last 24 games of 2020.
Just 10 seasons have ended with a player scoring at least 100 3-pointers. Curry is responsible for six of them. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Duncan Robinson and James Harden can be found at fifth, sixth and eighth, with Curry filling in the rest of the top 10.
He hasn’t been quite as accurate as in the past. His 43.7 percent shooting is 24th-best all time among those with at least 70 makes. His younger brother, Seth Curry, holds the highest success rate at 53.7 percent to end the 2020 season. Stephen Curry is the only player to attempt more than 300 3-pointers in his final 24 games; he’s tried 355 from deep.
|Damian Lillard||Trail Blazers||2020||127|
It’s been a special end to the regular season for Curry. Now the question becomes how long can he keep it going.
Seventeen players have finished the season averaging at least 35 points in their final 24 games. Only two ended the postseason with rings: Chamberlain with the Warriors in 1964 and Rick Barry with the Warriors in 1967.
Can Curry make it a trio of Warriors? His quest for his fourth ring begins on Wednesday against the Lakers.