Enough already. Balls doesn’t want to to hear any more crazy talk about the NBA Most Valuable Player race. Don’t bring it up again. Please.
Stephen Curry is the guy. He was the guy in January, February and March. He’s the guy in April. If he isn’t the guy a few days from now, when the MVP vote is taken, anyone who selected James Harden or Russell Westbrook should submit to drug tests immediately.
Consider what happened Tuesday night in Los Angeles to be the double exclamation point to his candidacy.
In the second quarter, Curry absolutely, positively destroyed Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul on a ridiculous crossover that lit up the viral video world like a nuclear bomb. Oh, then he drained a shot from the corner. He made Paul look sick on a similar shake-and-bake at Oracle Arena only weeks earlier. Paul is/was an eight-time All-Star, mind you.
Know how Paul and Curry cross paths in that television commercial — Mr. State Farm headed down the escalator while Mr. MVP moves up, up, up …? That’s their career paths right now.
“I knew he was trailing [the play], and I thought I could make a move toward the basket and get some creativity in between,” Curry told reporters. “As soon as I saw him kind of go down, I knew I had to shoot it and just see what happened. You kind of get a little adrenaline rush because those are kind of cool moments. Thankfully, the shot went in. I didn’t see the bench’s reaction, but they said everybody was going crazy.”
Yet Curry is about more than just killer moves. A whole lot more. He’s about winning, and nobody has done it better than him and his team this season. The Warriors went on to beat the Clippers in a game that meant a heckuva lot more to the home team, especially when you consider that starter Draymond Green never got off the bench. Guess who had his fingerprints all over the 110-106 victory like he had so many times this season? Curry scored a team-high 27 points and required only 22 shots to pull it off. Talk about cold-blooded efficiency. He also had four assists and one steal in 36 minutes.
“The man is tough,” Paul fessed up. “They run him off a ton of screens. Three of those shots I was in his chest, and he still made them.” Stop. Don’t waste your breath. The case is closed.
RIDDLE US THIS: Can anyone tell Balls how Charles Barkley morphs into a college basketball expert come NCAA Tournament time every year?
How many college games did Chuckles attend this season? How many players and coaches did he talk to in person? How many games did he watch on television? How many of those games didn’t involve Auburn, his alma mater?
I know, Barkley isn’t an analyst as much as he is a celebrity in a celebrity-obsessed world. The guy is paid for his opinions on anything and everything, regardless of whether they’re half-cocked or not. I just wonder if the vast majority of hoops fans would rather learn about Duke’s pressure defense from somebody who actually knows what the hell he’s talking about.
AND ANOTHER THING: Any time Turner Broadcasting System wants to scrap those silly shootouts in the studio is fine here.
I mean, Balls can think of a lot better ways to fill valuable air time than to have a bunch of overweight, out-of-shape old men shoot free throws and jump, er, push shots, especially when one of them is Shaquille O’Neal, he of the .527 career free throw percentage.
PAGING JASON KIDD: Congrats to the Stanford men’s hoops team for its victory Tuesday, but a squeaker over Old Dominion in the NIT probably doesn’t quicken many pulses around here.
The NCAA Tournament is what it’s all about, Alfie, and not one local team received an invitation this year. Then again, memorable runs have been few and far between lately. Since 1998, Stanford reached the Elite Eight just once and the Sweet 16 on two occasions. Cal hasn’t advanced as far as the Sweet Sixteen since 1997, the debut of the Ben Braun era.
Balls doesn’t have statistical data to support this — hey, where’s Sports Geekery when we need it? — but I bet a market of this size produces as many talented, young athletes as any in the country if not more. Whether the drought has to do with coaches or recruiters or a lack thereof, more should be expected here.
THE LIST: A sample of Twitter reactions from the NBA world to the Curry crossover:
Jordan Crawford: “He doin that man Michael Jackson baddddd!” Evan Fournier: “WOW !!!!!!!”
Eddie Johnson: “@StephenCurry30 you just made Chris Paul sit down in time out. Wow.”
Chandler Parsons: “Oh no Steph!!!!!”
Anthony Toliver: “@StephenCurry30 dang bruh…why did you do our @TheNBPA President like that!”
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