For Stephen Curry and the Warriors, Three is a Magic Number


Stephen Curry is the best third quarter player and the best three-point shooter in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are the best third quarter team and the best three-point shooting team in the league.

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Stephen Curry is undoubtedly the league’s best player at this current juncture in the 2015-16 NBA season, and the Golden State Warriors are unquestionably one of the best teams of all time. They’ve continually proven how dominant of a team they can be, most recently coming away with the 114-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

As part of their seven-game road trip, Curry and the Warriors flew to Brooklyn to face the Nets — the only team to take Golden State to overtime this season — following a 112-109 win over the Toronto Raptors just the night before. With just five wins this season, many didn’t expect the Nets to fight the way they did against the undefeated Warriors, earning their first lead of the game after a 16-0 run that was split between the conclusion of the first half and the start of the second.

But as many are aware, no lead is safe when the Warriors are playing, and the Dubs were able to regain the lead by the end of the third quarter off Curry’s 16 third quarter points (6-for-10 FG, 3-for-6 3P, 1-for-1 FT).

It’s no secret that Curry is one of the best third quarter players in the NBA. Last season, Curry posted the league’s best +/- in the third quarter at +3.3 on averages of 7.2 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He also averaged 47.4 percent shooting from the field, 43.2 percent from behind the arc.

This year, Curry is a +3.2 in third quarter play through 22 games played, averaging a league-high 12.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and a league-high 1.0 steals. In terms of shooting, Curry has shot 56.3 percent from the field in third quarters, 42.5 percent from long range.

Looking at the totals, Curry has scored 266 points in third quarter play on 94 field goals, 34 of which are three-pointers. Curry’s third quarter points total is 100 points better than the second-best third quarter scorer in the NBA, Paul George. In addition, Curry leads the league in third quarter steals (22), and would have led the league in third quarter FTs were it obviously not for James Harden.

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The Warriors, as a team, lead the league in third quarter points per game (28.6) and in third quarter margin (+3.5). Last year, they averaged 27.3 points in the third quarter on a margin of +3.0, both of which also led the league.

There’s really no explanation for Golden State’s third quarter dominance. There’s certainly times when the Warriors begin a bit slow in the first half, playing rather casually to start games; then, as quick a lightning strike, they flip the switch in the third quarter and make a run.

This especially applies to Curry, who looks like a man possessed as he goes off on a shooting spree that simply cannot be stopped by any mere human being. In the last five games — four of which have been on the road — Curry has been a +4.4 on averages of 12.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 62.9 percent from the field, 58.8 percent from behind the arc and 90.0 percent from the free throw line IN JUST THE THIRD QUARTER.

Furthermore, Curry has made 116 threes this season on 246 attempts (47.2 percent). On average, those numbers translate to Curry making about 5.3 threes a game on 11.2 attempts, both of which are career highs for the 6-foot-3-inch All-Star point guard.

When we consider that he’s the current record holder for most threes in a season (286) and he’s nearly made half of that already with just a little over a fourth of the season completed, we do the math to find that Curry is on pace to make 434 threes this year, which would completely obliterate his former record.

And because of Curry, the Warriors lead the league in three-pointers made per game (13.5) and three-pointers attempted per game (30.9), which translates to 43.7 percent shooting from behind the arc. Last year, Golden State led the league in three-point percentage (39.8), but were second in total three pointers made (883) behind a NBA season record 933 threes from the Houston Rockets. If the Warriors continue to hit 13.5 threes a game, they’ll set a new season record of 1,107 threes made.

So just to recap: the guy wearing the number 30 on his jersey is not only the best three-point shooter in the history of the NBA and part of the best third quarter playing, three-point shooting team in the league, but he’s currently the only member of the 60-60-90 club when it comes to third quarter play. If it wasn’t obvious before, it should be written into every scouting report, every history book, and every record book:

Three is most definitely a magic number for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

All stats used in this article are accurate as of Dec. 7, 2015 per

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