Stephen Curry needed 28 feet and less than half of a quarter to become the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers on Tuesday night, passing Ray Allen for the all-time mark.
With the Warriors taking on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Curry needed two 3s to break the record, and started things off with a bang as he nailed a 29-footer to give the Warriors an early 5-2 lead just over a minute in. A few minutes later, Curry, as he’s known to do, pulled up well behind the arc and fired off another 3, this one from 28 feet, which went in to give the Warriors the 12-10 lead.
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At halftime, TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’ crew weighed in on Curry’s achievement along with the rest of the sports world.
To panelist Kenny “The Jet” Smith, it wasn’t just Curry’s accomplishment that stood out, but rather the totality of the moment and the experience.
“The ability to not only be in the moment, but with all the game pregame antics, talking to Reggie (Miller), hugging mom and dad — to do all of that and still play a basketball game, that’s even more impressive,” Smith said. “For Golden State as a team, this is like ring night when you win your championship ring. It’s hard to focus and you’re thinking about everything other than the actual game.”
Coach Steve Kerr was focused on the actual game, though he admitted he was “more emotional” than he expected. He also hoped fans would remember that the Warriors won the game as well as they trailed 48-47 at halftime.
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Discussion also emerged about just how far Curry’s record will go and whether it will be eclipsed at some point in the near or distant future.
That’s where Smith and TNT teammate Shaquille O’Neal, varied in their assessments.
O’Neal, who talked about how the game has changed in terms of the sheer volume of 3-pointers taken, seemed to think given a number of factors, Curry’s record would be safe.
“‘I’m anxious to see when he gets to 1300 games. What’s the number going to be? And that’s why I adamantly say that he still has four or five, six years left,” O’Neal said. “By the time he’s done, his record will not be broken.”
If the 1,300 number seems arbitrary, it isn’t: That’s how many games Ray Allen played in over the course of his career en route to setting the previous record. For reference, Curry eclipsed Allen in 789 games, or nearly the equivalent of six fewer full 82-game seasons.
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Smith, however, pointed again to the volume and — as the broadcast noted — Allen took 15 3s in a game just four times in his career. Curry already has 10 games this season with 15-plus 3s attempted.
“I don’t think a guy will be the greatest shooter but he will have more volume,” Smith said. “When Reggie and I came in, they were shooting five 3s as a team. Here, now they’re shooting 34 as a team. Five years from now, they might be shooting 50 to 55 3s.”
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As for what the future holds, and the trajectory of 3-point shooting in the league, that remains to be seen. But as long as skilled and prolific 3-point shooters headlined by Curry are still in the league, that’s who Charles Barkley wants taking them.
“My problem is I don’t want guys who can’t shoot shooting 3s. That’s my problem with all the 3-point shooting. I want Steph, Klay (Thompson), James (Harden), Kevin (Durant) — I want all the great shooters taking 3s,” Barkley said. “But the problem we’ve got in the NBA is we’ve got bums taken 3s. That’s my problem with all the 3s. Everybody can’t be a great three point shooter. Please stop.”