Stephen Curry is leading the league in empty stats in irrelevant scenarios. The team was pimping his personal record eight 3-pointers in the easy win vs. terrible Charlotte a few nights back as though that meant something important. Meanwhile, his overall fourth quarter and overtime work have been pure shit. I skipped the Phoenix opener since ESPN didn't make it easy for me to get the 4Q play-by-play. Sue me. My Stephen Curry 4Q/OT stat compilation (not to be confused with stat padding) through 27 other games:
49/125 (.392) shooting.
23/58 (.397) 3PT shooting. Oooooooooooohhhh. Soft as fuck.
SIXTEEN fourth quarters with ZERO assists. Totals: 21 AST/22 TO. Not a point guard.
Nice: 28 rebounds. Contributing!
Less nice: 26 personal fouls.
Reminder: 4 RPG is nice from a guard as numbers go (and the Warriors LOVE their numbers!) but 4 PF per game is less so. Curry's fourth quarter PF rate is abominable and part of a VERY complete picture through the first third of the season: Curry is a fourth quarter liability. Someone else can go find out how often he gets a fourth quarter steal, but it doesn't look promising. Perhaps I'll get to that later if I feel like it.
A really good one for the stat heads: Curry has shot ZERO free throws in over half of the team's fourth quarters. He's always solid when he shoots them (33/36) but he's shot 2 or fewer in 22 of these 27 games, and three of the five games he shot more in included some VERY awkward officiating in all directions (Clippers early in the season, the OBSCENE three late charge calls on a young ugly Washington team that should have gotten the win on their home court, and an inexplicable outlier TEN 4Q/OT free throws against Dallas in an OT win they didn't deserve). Curry cannot and does not penetrate or challenge a defense in pressure/late game situations. You know he's not going to pass it. He's going to launch it, and you know it will be from three point range about half the time.
It's not like Curry is sitting out the fourth quarter of the team's games because they are such a finely tuned winning machine or anything. The shot attempts alone are clear enough indication that he's in for the chuck night in, night out. In fact, he has played all 12 minutes in 13 of these games and 9 or more minutes in another 8. Jackson has a fairly predictable opening 2-4 minute rest pattern for Curry in most games that matches early 4Q game stops more or less, despite Curry's fourth quarter work being wholly irrelevant to team success almost every single night. In another game, Curry played 8:44 of a fourth quarter after the team was already up by SEVENTEEN POINTS.
Here, another pattern starts to emerge: The Warriors are totally focused on the individual stats of Curry and Lee as they try to get ANY All Star love they can and on those of others like Thompson, Barnes, etc. as they try to prop up shitty draft picks on a shitty roster. Landry and Jack are on their way out of town as they go stat happy themselves. The Warriors don't have the ability to sign them at the rates their all-O routine figures to demand on the open market in the offseason. Tough paradox- good stats for these two often, and they have been the team's two most important players WITHOUT QUESTION, but it's still all stats vs. a soft early schedule with telltale signs of opportunism and mercenary contract-pushing. You let another team buy into that, as the Warriors will have to, and then the next step in the Ridder-Fitzgerald talk point routine is to bash them both upon inevitable departure. This indy stats hype is the Warriors pre-All Star way for every single season Ray Ridder and Bob Fitzgerald have been allowed/promoted to define team culture.
For example, in Curry's finest late game scoring performance, he went 4 of 8 in a bad loss to Orlando at home. Curry was 1-5 until the team was down by 10 points. Then he hit three totally meaningless shots (one a 3-pointer) to pad his individual stats but still lose badly to a not-so-good team. Even crazier than that, Curry already was 4 of 18 but somehow had 16 points in an Atlanta blowout, and thenJackson put him in at the 8:50 mark with the team up by 21 points. He promptly clanked an unnecessary 3-pointer, and then he got his one dunk of the year and hung on the rim for a technical foul. None of this is professional, winning basketball, mature, or relevant to consequential team building. It's pure showboat stat pad PR-flash silliness. And it's the Warriors Way with Ray Ridder as a team Vice President responsible for team culture completely from Cohan through Lacob & co. Ridder is the guy who carries the lies to the public, season in and season out. Until he's gone, you've seen no sale of the Warriors. Same stat hyping bullshit machine for ever-closer-to twenty years now.
Go replay last night's loss to the Lakers. Curry went 1 of 6 (1 of 4 from three) and had zero assists against two turnovers, two customarily worthless rebound sneaks, and the standard 2 personal fouls in 17 minutes of terrible 4Q and OT play.
The most fun one can have tracking Curry's fourth quarter and overtime work is to look at the games he played LESS than 8 minutes in. It's happened just 5 times despite the Warriors blowing a few opponents out (Stat padding!). The afore-mentioned Atlanta game was one. The team effectively peaked its 2012-13 season on December 15, 2012 and behaved like private school playgrounders instead of professional, calm, worthy-of-being-taken-seriously game runners. Curry sets that tone with David Lee, who bitches to refs and flops all over the place while padding his own irrelevant early season stats. This guy gets his stats- that's the David Lee profile. He got GREAT stats for the Knicks. Who sucked. He got GREAT stats for the Warriors the last two seasons. No playoffs yet. But I digress- David Lee's playacting is for another time. Back to Curry's fourth quarter bedwetting.
Curry played 7 average fourth quarter minutes against Cleveland early in the season (1/3, 0/1 3PT, 2 AST/2 TO, 1 REB, zeros besides). Curry was benched late vs. Minnesota because he could not stop fouling. Zero assists, one turnover, nothing else. The team didn't need him to win. He played about 6 minutes at Washington. Ray Ridder says Curry won the game by "taking" two charges (Landry took another) and hitting four FT. The intelligent folks in the league (who don't give Ridder the time of day, hence his desperate-for-approval paranoia, etc.) say you can count on the Warriors to exploit the talk point of supposedly toughter anti-flop rules to flop even more and play even bitchier no-play "defense" by trying to get in front of opponents instead of ever stopping plays from getting set up and executed in the first place. That was a fucked up ref screw job against Washington. THREE WASHINGTON CHARGES called in the last minute of a 2 point game?! If Ted Leonsis weren't such a brutal whore of basketball buffoonery, I'd pity the Wizards.
And finally, Curry played a whopping 3 fourth quarter minutes in the first Lakers loss of the season. Curry entered the game at the 10 minute mark of the quarter with the team down 17 points. He of course missed his one 3-point shot, but the best part was that he came in SPECIFICALLY to get two assists and reach a mere 5 for the game rather than be allowed to see his APG average dip on the three he'd managed while the Lakers completely torched the Warriors to that point. EVERY single play in that three minute stretch was designed to try for a Curry assist. As soon as he got his fifth assist, at the next stoppage, the team pulled him. The Lakers now had a 20 point lead.
The Warriors had a cake schedule and a LOT of league/ref love through the first 30 games. As I predicted weeks ago, they will head into January with about 20 wins. That's quite a number. Nice numbers, boys. Super duper.