NBA

'It's good to know what that feels like finally' – Stephen Curry thrilled by first NBA buzzer-beater

By Sports Desk January 22, 2022

After 13 years in the NBA, Stephen Curry finally knows the exhilaration of hitting a buzzer-beater.

He kicked out at a courtside chair in frustration at one point on Friday evening, but the two-time MVP saved a big shot for last, his stepback 20-footer giving the Golden State Warriors a 105-103 win over the Houston Rockets.

Curry, whose shooting from the field has fallen short of his usual high standard this season, finished the game with 22 points and 12 assists, with the wobbling Warriors bouncing back from a sorry 121-117 overtime defeat to a depleted Indiana Pacers the previous night.

In the Pacers game, Curry had scored 39 points, but against Houston he made just six of 21 shots from the field. Ultimately, it hardly mattered thanks to his last-ditch heroics.

"It's good to know what that feels like finally," Curry said of his special moment. "We know we dropped a ball last night, and for 30 minutes or so this game was all over the place.

"Throughout the course of the season you can go through different dry spells.

"We're second in the West, and we're fine. We obviously know we've got to play better if we're going to win a championship. But there are different ways to lose basketball games and last night didn't set well with any of us.

"We had a good talk in our pre-game meeting about what we needed to do. There's always that uneasiness of knowing what you've got to do and then going out and doing it and dealing with adversity in the game when you're trying to show up and trying to bounce back, and that's what tonight was."

 

Curry spoke of an improved mentality from the Pacers game.

"It reminds you to keep the big-picture perspective on what we're trying to do, realise what it takes to continue to try to win at this level," said 33-year-old Curry.

"I liked the way we fought. Everyone contributed down the stretch leading up to the shot to give us a chance. We needed it, obviously. We've got to try to build on it and bring some joy back."

Even as his radar appeared to be off, Curry never stopped going for his shots.

"The worst thing you could do is shy away from that next opportunity," he said.

"The fact I had a shot to win it was because everybody stayed locked in, stayed focused and competed. That's a great sign in terms of what we're trying to build on."

His field-goal shooting is down at 42 per cent this season, by far the lowest of any year in his career, bar 2019-20 when he played just five times. Curry's career average is 47.2 per cent, and he knows he can improve.

"Somebody told me my open shots were like six or seven per cent lower than they usually are. There's no reason other than you're just missing shots," Curry said. "I obsess over it, but I don't panic. If I did, I wouldn't be shooting as much as I am to try to get myself through it.

"I know I've got to shoot the ball better, and I want to shoot it better, and I'm going to shoot it better. Everything else I feel pretty good about.

"You want to be as efficient as possible, but you also want to win games, and whatever it takes to do that is the most important."

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  • Heat's Erik Spoelstra looking forward to 'throwback' Eastern Conference Finals Heat's Erik Spoelstra looking forward to 'throwback' Eastern Conference Finals

    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Eastern Conference Finals will be an old-school defensive slugfest, and that he feels the best two teams made it.

    The Heat needed six games to triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Boston Celtics came back from 3-2 down against the Milwaukee Bucks to get the job done in Game 7.

    As a reward for getting their series out of the way early, the Heat will have five days of rest before Tuesday's Game 1, while the Celtics have just one proper rest day between series.

    Speaking to the media after Monday's practice, Spoelstra said it is shaping up as a series that will warm the heart of Heat president Pat Riley.

    "Pat's [Riley] probably is going to enjoy this," he said. "This is like a throwback series. 

    "If both teams are really on top of their games, this should be a series where neither team is scoring 130 points. Both teams hang their hats on rock-solid team defense, and making multiple efforts and being disciplined to schemes. 

    "So it will be a lot of plays and things in the margins… really, we were the two best teams in the East most of the season and it's fitting that we're moving into the conference finals.

    "Boston has played as well as anyone in the entire league once they got to 2022. It's not by accident. They're playing very strong basketball. They do it on both ends."

    Heat star Jimmy Butler was asked about his potential matchup against Jayson Tatum, and he had nothing but praise for the Celtics' best player.

    "He's one of the best in the game right now," he said. "As much attention as he draws on the offensive end – and then I think what's really impressive is the way that he's picked up his defensive intensity. 

    "You got to tip your hat to that and respect him, I think those are the guys that you want to go up against."

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