OAKLAND – In the third quarter of a tight game, before a sellout crowd, Stephen Curry stepped up and delivered as never before at Oracle Arena.
He'd never scored 40 points at home, much less 50.
Curry went for 51 points Wednesday night, leading the Warriors to a 128-114 victory over Dallas. He scored 26 in a blistering third quarter, during which the Warriors overcame what had been a 20-point deficit and raced past the Mavericks.
"He obviously just took it upon himself to go nuts," coach Steve Kerr said.
It wasn't a picture of perfection, as was the case when Klay Thompson made every shot he took in going for 37 points in the third quarter on Jan. 23 against Sacramento. This was different.
This was a quality opponent doing all it could and still being helpless.
"I take pride in finding different kinds of ways to impact the game, especially if we're in a hole like we were in," Curry said. "It's not just me making shots."
Well, no, for a while it was just Curry making shots.
"He was making ridiculous shots," Kerr said. "There's no defense for that."
Curry's third quarter pulled the Warriors out of a ditch. His third-quarter stat line: 8-of-11 shooting, 6-of-7 from beyond the arc and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. His arsenal went from two-foot floaters to as far out as 28 feet. He was the only player from either team to stay on the floor for the entire quarter.
"He had one of those extra-special nights," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said, "and I've never seen anybody in this league hit shots like that from that distance."
The Warriors trailed 62-58 when Curry's flurry began. They led by as much as six before ending the quarter up 101-98.
Curry finished 16-of-26, including 10-of-16 from the 3-point stripe. His 36-point second half represented a career high.
"He's an unbelievable shooter, but not even just that," Dallas center Tyson Chandler said. "He's turned into an unbelievable basketball player, making reads an dreading the defense and kind of keeping you on your heels.
It's one thing for him to hit the spot-up shots, but he hits shots in traffic and makes tough floaters. Incredible all-around game."