NEW ORLEANS -– After a sizzling 4[1/2] minutes Thursday night, the Warriors went cold for the next 32, outplayed in every salient aspect by a young and impetuous New Orleans team.
They were down, down, down and very nearly out in Game 3 of this playoff series.
The Warriors trailed by 20 at the start of the fourth quarter, and with 7:43 left in that final period, facing the prospect of their 2-0 series lead cut in half, Stephen Curry returned and changed the climate within Smoothie King Center.
The MVP candidate strapped his teammates to his narrow back and carried out a wave of destruction that broke hearts all over the Big Easy.
Though Curry scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of a 123-119 Warriors victory, it is one game-tying shot that will live forever.
With 9.6 seconds to play in regulation, Warriors coach Steve Kerr calls a timeout. He draws up a play that results in a 3-point shot by Curry. The shot misses, leaving 5.9 seconds on the clock.
"It was a little short," Curry says.
But Marreese Speights, AKA "Mo Buckets," transforms into "Mo Glass," gets the rebound, shovels it out to Curry and, well, history is born.
"Mo made a huge play to get that rebound and had the wherewithal and composure to grab it, take a dribble figure out what was going on and he saw me relocate to the corner," Curry says. With the clocking ticking down and three Pelicans, including Pterodactyl-armed Anthony Davis, diving in his direction, Curry launches another trey from deep in the corner.
"I knew I had a few seconds to get the shot off," Curry says. "And thankfully I got it off quick enough before those two guys clobbered me and knocked me down."
Swish. No whistle. Tie game.
"I'm not quite sure what happened," coach Steve Kerr says. "I'm as startled as everyone else."
Time runs out.
Overtime. Curry drains a 3-pointer 33 seconds into OT, making an immediate statement.
Warriors go on to win, taking a 3-0 series lead, pulling within one win of sweeping the series and leaving this city in tears.
New Orleans Pelicans mascot photo courtesy USATSI