OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry is two shots shy of setting a new NBA standard, and the question circulating around the Golden State Warriors locker room ahead of the season finale at Portland on Wednesday night is when — not if — he will break Ray Allen‘s single-season record of 269 3-pointers.
“He should be done with that by the end of the first quarter,” guard Jarrett Jack said.
With the way Curry has shot the ball this season, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
The rejuvenated Warriors point guard, with his twice surgically repaired right ankle no longer an issue, has shown just what he can do in a season of near-perfect health. He is shooting 45.5 percent from beyond the arc and is averaging almost 3 1/2 baskets from long range over the 77 games he has played.
“I don’t know who second place is for the best shooter in the world,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “But he certainly has first place tied up.”
The diminutive guard with the smooth shooting stroke who dazzled at Davidson is carrying the Warriors to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and just the second time in 19 years.
Golden State (46-35) is a game ahead of Houston for sixth place in the Western Conference and can seal the spot — and a first-round matchup at Denver — with a win against the Trail Blazers in the regular-season finale. The Rockets, who hold the tiebreaker over the Warriors after winning the season series 3-1, finish at the Lakers.
Curry admits he wants Allen’s record. The biggest challenge at Portland, he said, might be just trying not to think about the mark every time he shoots.
“You just hope it happens. Obviously, I know about it,” Curry said. “You just try to play your game, and obviously shooting the ball is a part of it. I’m not going to force it. But it’d be nice to do it.”
Seemingly far from contending for the 3-point mark a week ago, Curry has ramped up his output during the postseason push to easily bring Allen’s record within reach.
Curry has shot 16 of 28 from beyond the arc during the past two games to close within one of the benchmark Allen set in the 2005-06 season with Seattle. Allen shot 41.2 percent when he eclipsed the previous record of 267 by Dennis Scott, who made 42.5 percent from long range in 1995-96 with Orlando.
Curry has been clutch, too. During the fourth quarter of Monday’s 116-106 home win against San Antonio, he sparked a 19-0 run with three 3s and a reverse layup.
Curry said he never knew what Allen’s record was until he started approaching the number in recent weeks.
His dad, Dell Curry, was a teammate of Allen’s in Milwaukee during the 1998-99 season — when the elder Curry shot a career-best 47.6 percent from 3-point range while making 69 from beyond the arc.