SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is the NBA’s scoring king for the 2020-21 season.
The two-time MVP scored 46 points in 40 minutes Sunday in a 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, a performance that not only secured the season’s scoring crown over Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal. But it also helped Golden State finish as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. He leaves the Warriors for a road game Wednesday against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
In a season filled with incredible memories, Curry’s latest act did not surprise his teammates and coaches.
“It’s never been better, I can say that,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said when asked if this was the best season of Curry’s illustrious 12-year career. “He’s been great for a long time though, so it’s hard to say he’s at his best because he’s been like this for years. I think what’s different this year is that the supporting cast is different. Team; I know. He has asked you to do much more with this group and has gone beyond what we have asked.
“It was an incredible season and I will leave it at that. It has never been better than now.”
After missing all but five games last season due to a broken hand, Curry ends this season averaging 32 points per game. His previous career best of 30.1 points per game came in 2015-16, when he also became the first unanimous MVP in league history and won his other scoring title.
After Beal scored 25 points Sunday in Washington’s 115-110 win over the Charlotte Hornets to finish with a season average of 31.3 points per game, Curry needed just three points to claim the scoring crown, which which he achieved with a couple of field goals, including the deciding factor with 3:24 left in the first quarter.
“I have been fortunate to be healthy again and to be able to play night after night at a high level,” Curry said. “And the work that goes into, it’s worth it, and it’s something I really trust, especially at this point in my career. As the years go by, that’s what makes a difference for me. Nobody really looks at it. day by day, but I’m very proud of what I put into it, and of the team – they know who they are – that help me, push me and motivate me. I’m going to keep doing that until I can’t anymore. “
Curry made a career-high 36 shots, including a career-high 22 3-pointers, en route to Sunday’s start. He finishes the regular season with 11 40-point games, just one short of Michael Jordan’s record for the most of any player in his twelfth season or after. Jordan accomplished the feat during an 82-game season, while Curry’s efforts came during a shortened 72-game season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At 33, Curry becomes the oldest scoring champion since Jordan led the league with 28.7 points per game in 1997-98 at age 35. Curry also joins Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with multiple scoring titles, MVPs and championships, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“I appreciate that guy and what he’s doing for the game,” Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson said. “What you’re doing for me and what you’re doing for Bay [Area]. I grew up as a Warriors fan. We suck for years. Everybody wants to see the Warriors now. Everybody wants to come to Warriors games. The admission price is well worth it. “
Curry, who was showered with “MVP” chants during Sunday’s game, has played arguably his best regular season during this condensed season. He averaged 37.3 points per game over 15 games in April, a period that left even his teammates and coaches in awe.
“Steph is great to play with,” Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins said. “Sometimes you see yourself watching, contemplating the greatness of the things he does on the court that are so special. All the attention he gets on and off the ball, so it’s been great to play with him.”