— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 12, 2019
OAKLAND — After watching the ball bank off the glass and through the net, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry jumped into the air to celebrate a buzzer-beating, half-court prayer with forward Jonas Jerebko.
Judging by Curry’s level of excitement, it would have been easy to think that it was Curry who hit the shot. Instead, it was Jerebko — who Curry tackled to the ground in an outburst of pure joy.
On a night when Golden State blasted the visiting Chicago Bulls 146-109, a night when Curry moved into third place on the NBA all-time three-pointers list, his focus was not on personal achievements, but rather reminding the team —and it’s fans – of one of head coach Steve Kerr’s four core values.
“That’s kind of been a hallmark of our team over the last few years,” said Kerr. ‘It think Steph sets a tone… I love the energy.”
Curry’s showcase of joy was on full display within the first two minutes on Friday night as his teammate and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson followed up a 43-point game against the New York Knicks with three straight 3-pointers to open the game.
The burst of offense helped give the Warriors an 11-2 lead with 10:21 to play in the first, forcing a timeout from Bulls head coach Jim Boylen.
“Any time Klay gets it going, it’s always a fun thing to watch,” Curry said. “You appreciate the show. You appreciate the greatness that’s around you.”
With 24 points in the first half on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor — including 6-of-8 from distance — Thompson paced the Warriors during the first 24 minutes of play.
As Curry’s scoring and pursuit of the three-point status took somewhat of a backseat, the two-time MVP continued to place importance on his team as the half came to a close.
With 1.6 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Jerebko caught the ball in front of the Warriors bench, where Curry stood, holding a towel in his hands.
“I actually was yelling at him, right when he caught the ball,” Curry said. “I think I said something like, ‘Let me see something Jonas.’ He launched it and it looked good the whole way.”
While the ensuing tackle of Jerebko went viral on Twitter, Curry still had more work to do as his goal of moving up on the all-time 3-point list had yet to be met.
Hitting only one of the five triples attempted in the first half, Curry did not waste much time at all on the third quarter. Within 90 seconds, Curry had hit his second three of the night.
One more to go.
Thirty seconds later, Curry sprinted to the right corner of the court where Warriors forward Draymond Green placed a waist-high pass for a clean look from 26 feet.
As Boylen called another timeout in hopes of halting the game’s momentum, Curry walked casually to the bench. Sitting with his arms resting up on either chair beside him, Curry nodded his head to the standing ovation at Oracle.
With the shot, Curry moved up to third on the NBA’s three-point made list only behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.
“To be honest, when I made that third three, I knew what the moment was,” Curry said. “It was more so just a reflection of just how appreciative I am to be next to those two guys.
“[They’re] two guys that I know were trend-setters in stretching the imagination of the 3-point game. Doing it for many many many years and people that I looked up to as a young kid playing the game.”
Thompson, who has spent the last eight years next to Curry reflected on his teammate’s special moment.
“There’s this thing called talent they’re born with,” Thompson said. “If you work hard and harness that talent, you can become great. I think those three are some of the greatest ever to put the ball in the hoop.”
While Curry’s success was undoubtedly a massive accomplishment, he and the rest of his team moved past the moment quickly, getting back to the fun of handing a 37-point beat down to Chicago. The Warriors had not won a game by more than 28 points this season, and now, they’ve won back-to-back games by 27 or more.
When all was said and done, Curry would wind up with 28 points on 10-of 16 shooting. But most of all, he would remind the team of one of Kerr’s four core values: joy.
“I’ve seen it. I just think he enjoys seeing people succeed whether that’s in basketball or in life,” Thompson said of Curry. “As our leader, he plays with that emotion and we all try to follow.”