Published On: Mon, Jun 4th, 2018

An oral history of Steph Curry's wild fourth-quarter 3-pointer

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OAKLAND, Calif. – With under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s second game of the NBA Finals – and the Golden State Warriors leading the Cleveland Cavaliers by 11 – Steph Curry dribbled away from the basket to behind the 3-point line, momentarily lost the ball, picked it up, and threw up a prayer from 35 feet out that swished through the bottom of the net.

It felt like an iconic career moment for Curry, especially on a night when he set an NBA Finals record with nine 3-pointers made, passing the previous record of eight set by Ray Allen in Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Curry also set a Finals record for 3-point attempts with 17, surpassing his own mark of 15, which he had done twice previously.

This particular 3-pointer had players and coaches talking after Game 2. Here’s a mini oral history on Curry’s remarkable 3-pointer from his record-setting evening:

Klay Thompson: Seven seconds on the (shot) clock, and he just kept going backwards. I don’t know why, but he just threw it up, and I didn’t think it had any chance of going in.

That was like a dagger shot, and it gave us all the momentum back … It hit nothing but net, and that was just a very good sight to see.

Draymond Green: The one where he was falling away was … I wouldn’t necessarily say (I was) surprised about that, but it was like, oh, man, he’s really got it going.

He’s a big shot taker, big shot maker. A tough shot taker, tough shot maker.

If he gives you the ball, make sure you give it back. It’s hard to be the guy in that situation trying to shoot the ball and he’s got it going like that, it’s a big letdown. You miss the shot, and it’s like, ‘Ohh.’ And you make the shot, they’re not going to scream as loud anyway. So you just kind of give him the ball and get out of the way.

I can’t say I knew he had nine threes or it was a Finals record. But you definitely notice the looks on their faces when he hit some of the shots. It was like dagger after dagger.

Steve Kerr: It’s hard to think back to all of the games. But he was tremendous. Nine threes and (he) seemed to hit the big shot every time we needed one … He was fantastic.

Kevin Durant: As this point, it’s expected.

Kevin Love: No matter where you are on the floor, especially past half court on their side, he always has a chance to make a miraculous shot.

He’s 11-for-26 from the floor, 9-for-17 from the 3-point line, you have to try to make him shoot twos, make him shoot contested twos, and do the best job you can from the 3-point line as well.

I felt like it was well contested. We played 23-and-a-half good seconds of defense, and he turned around and hit a moonball.

Tyronn Lue: Yeah, it’s tough. I mean, he makes tough shots, that’s what he does. Even switching the pick-and-roll, having a five-man guarding him, makes him move, you get a good contest. But once he releases it, he sees the basket. He usually makes it.

LeBron James: Every shot that he takes that goes in, he has the business of making them. That’s what he does.

George Hill: We felt like we were right there, but every time we’re right there, Steph, Kevin, or Klay hit a big shot and it brings momentum down.

Steph Curry: I was trying to get some space. I thought I had a layup at first, and I fumbled the ball and tried to see where the defense was. Kevin Love was right on me. I actually lost the dribble for a hot second, and the only way to get a shot was to keep going back.

I mean, I try all sorts of shots at some point or another, but at that point, it’s just feel and letting it go, and thankfully it went in. A big moment where we had a significant lead, we could extend it a little bit and create some separation down the stretch. It was a cool moment for sure.

Any type of those moments when you can come down and answer and keep the momentum on our side, it’s big. Keep the crowd into it.

At the end of the day, it’s all about trying to get a win and doing whatever you can to make that happen. I always say like if we focus on that, good things happen individually all across the board.

I never woke up and was like, all right, let’s go get nine threes and get the record. It was more so about playing the game the right way, having good intentions out there on the court and good things happen. So pretty special night, and hopefully some more special things happen and we get two more wins.

Alex Wong is an NBA freelance writer whose work has appeared in GQ, The New Yorker, Vice Sports, and Complex, among other publications.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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