Fans of the New York Knicks have spent most of the past dozen years wondering what might have been if Stephen Curry lasted one pick later in the 2009 NBA Draft.
On Tuesday night, a capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden will get a unique glimpse at what Curry has become. The superstar will aim to break Ray Allen’s NBA record for career 3-pointers when he leads the Warriors into the Big Apple for their annual visit to play the Knicks.
The Warriors will be completing a back-to-back set after Curry scored a game-high 26 points and moved within one 3-pointer of tying Allen on Monday night as Golden State edged the Indiana Pacers 102-100 in Indianapolis. Curry went 5-for-15 from beyond the arc.
The reeling Knicks will be completing a brief homestand against a pair of title contenders after falling to the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks 112-97 on Sunday afternoon.
Allen finished his Hall of Fame career with 2,973 3-pointers in 1,300 regular-season games. Curry, who ended Monday with 2,972 3-pointers, is likely to break the record in his 789th regular-season game — the equivalent of more than six full seasons faster than Allen.
“I’m enjoying the moment, knocking on the doorstep,” Curry said Monday night. “It’s pretty surreal.”
And yet as Curry admitted after another subpar — at least by his standards — outside shooting performance Monday night, the record-breaking 3-pointer can’t come soon enough. Curry, a career 43.2 percent 3-point shooter, is shooting 36.8 percent (32 of 87) from beyond the arc in six games this month. He has hit more than 40 percent of his attempts in a game just twice in that span.
“Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of hype around this record, and sometimes that gets everybody rushing, playing out of your skin a little bit,” Curry said.
Breaking the 3-point record will further cement Curry’s status as a generational player. Since being drafted seventh overall by the Warriors in 2009 — one pick before the Knicks selected Jordan Hill, who played just 24 games in New York and played 409 games for five franchises over eight seasons — Curry has won two scoring titles, captured two MVP awards and led Golden State to three NBA championships.
The Knicks, who have won one postseason series this century, appeared to be closer to building a contender after going 41-31 and snapping a seven-year playoff drought last season.
However, they have struggled to establish an identity this season, going 7-14 since starting 5-1. New York, which hasn’t won back-to-back games since a three-game winning streak from Oct. 26-30, has dropped its last three games, with double-digit defeats to the Indiana Pacers and the Bucks sandwiching a three-point loss to the Toronto Raptors.
A rapidly depleting roster hasn’t made the Knicks’ task any easier. With Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett in COVID-19 protocols, Alec Burks witnessing the birth of his child and Kemba Walker buried in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s doghouse, New York played just nine players Sunday — including rookie Miles McBride, who was on the court for a mere 46 seconds.
“We fell short. Anytime you fall short, there’s disappointment,” Thibodeau said. “Our margin of error is real small right now.”
–Field Level Media