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Stephen Curry and the Warriors Go Up 3-0

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The Golden State Warriors’ 115-80 ruination of the Houston Rockets wasn’t just a solid Game 3 victory. It was an astounding illustration of what’s made Stephen Curryand the Warriors so incredible this season. They played an intelligent, active, switch-heavy defense that ripped the Rockets apart. On the other end, their MVP ran circles around Houston when he wasn’t garroting them with the arc.

Curry was absolutely devastating in what was perhaps the best first half of his career. He scored 18 points, claimed five assists and snagged four boards. That line understates the impact, though.

This was total control, dominance from the smallest Warrior on the floor. Curry tortured the Rockets, doing Steve Nash’s move of dribbling along the baseline from one side of the basket to the other. He kept pulling Houston defenders from their markers as they tracked behind him like a comet’s tail. Through all that activity, Golden State’s pied piper left the half with zero turnovers. He also set the playoff record for 3s on an off-the-dribble bomb from 29 feet. Most impressive of all, Curry swooped under Dwight Howard, boxed the big man out and snagged a rebound (and foul) from Goliath.

Then, in the third quarter, Curry merely scored 19 points. He also hit all four of his 3-point attempts, the most striking of which came off a Howard rejection of Klay Thompson’s layup. The ball caromed to Curry, who collected and fired one of those quick trigger threes that ends with his arm across his body. Trevor Ariza’s closeout didn’t stand a chance, as Curry drained a shot that conjured his game-tying Game 3 rainbow in New Orleans.

In the end, Curry finished with 40 points on 19 shots, hitting 7 of 9 3s.

“The shooting is hard to describe because I don’t think we’ve ever seen anybody shoot the ball the way Steph does off the dribble, off the catch,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “Seven-for-nine from 3, I mean, it was remarkable, just a tremendous performance.”

The MVP was in such a flow that he responded to a Houston fan who, according to Curry, called him a four-letter word. After a 3 in the corner, Curry turned and told the fan to “sit down.” He probably didn’t need to give the command. Eventually, the only real occasion for Rockets fans to stand was to exit.

Curry hurt the Rockets everywhere on Saturday night, not just from beyond the arc. He also hit five shots in the paint — a dazzling array of layups that crested over Houston’s long limbs.

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