Wednesday night's marquee national TV match-up between the Warriors and Clippers got off to a shaky start, but ended up living up to the hype. Warriors point guard Steph Curry, as usual, was a big reason why.
Steph Curry got into foul trouble in the first quarter, picking up two within three minutes. This gave an opportunity for the other Dubs to step up, but minimal production was achieved during the stretch. Klay Thompson continued to struggle and the team wasn't as confident without their 6-foot-3 superstar on the floor.
Chris Paul had a good first half and reminded everyone that he is still an elite point guard in the league. He ended the first two quarters with 20 points and helped the Clippers stay in the game against the defending NBA Champions.
However, the third quarter presented trouble for CP3. He got into foul trouble himself and never got into an offensive rhythm again. Blake Griffin began to take over. He normally struggles against Draymond Green and his stellar defense, but Griffin showcased why he is one of the top players in the league himself.
Both teams made questionable coaching choices. Doc Rivers played his son Austin far too much, despite Paul's foul trouble. Future Hall-of-Famer Paul Pierce didn't see enough action in the game after he was acquired for these big-time games. Interim head coach Luke Walton made rookie moves himself, playing his bench far too long in the third quarter and in the start of the fourth. Curry was well-rested when he finally checked back in, but the Warriors had to dig themselves out of a hole.
Golden State was down by as many as 10 points in the final quarter before Harrison "I want more than $16 million a year" Barnes made two clutch three-pointers. He also had a monster dunk on the fastbreak to not only get the raucous Oracle crowd going, but a full momentum swing for Golden State.
Steph Curry stole the show, though. He continued to ball out from beyond the arc and connected on seven three-pointers. As expected, Curry was unguardable.
Paul scored four points in the second half and couldn't get anything to go down in the clutch, including two crucial free-throws that would have given the Clippers a much-needed boost. Meanwhile, Curry continued to nail threes of all sorts, shaking players along the way, leaving the crowd in awe -- and the Clippers, yet again, helpless.
The talks continue for best point guard in the league. Some say it's still Chris Paul, others make a claim for Russell Westbrook. But it's Steph Curry. He's an NBA Champion, started the 2015-16 campaign even better than he did in his MVP season last year, and is virtually the hardest player to defend in the world.
He's made more three-pointers this season than eight NBA teams, has made more than the Nets and Timberwolves have combined, and even if he were to miss his next 90 or so attempts from beyond the arc, he would still have a better percentage than James Harden.
Westbrook is surreal and a stats machine. Paul is one of the best leaders in the league and has that veteran knowledge. But Steph Curry is the best point guard in the NBA, and it might not even be close anymore. He proved it on Wednesday and will continue to thrive under the biggest of stages while carrying the top point guard torch.