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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    Butler was at his best for the Heat, finishing with 41 points on 12-of-19 shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

    He also took 18 free-throw attempts and only two three-point attempts in comparison, attacking the basket at almost every opportunity.

    Against a Boston team that can be just as physical and aggressive as the Heat, the six-time All-Star said he will thrive on it, but the individual stat line does not matter in relation to wins and losses.

    "I like physicality. I want to run into people and see who falls down first, who's going to quit first," Butler said. at the post-game news conference.

    "I think that's the style of basketball I like to play and so do they. I was zero-for-two from three tonight, I want to go zero-for-zero next game, because I just want to keep banging into people.

    "I think I speak for my teammates, the Miami Heat organisation when I say I know what I'm capable of. I don't do this, score 40 points, I play the way that I play to win, by all means necessary. It just so happens that I scored 40, but if I score 40 and lose I'm gonna be really pissed off.

    "I have so much trust in my teammates and I will continue to play that way. I've been a quote unquote scorer at other points in my career, and it didn't work out too well for me, so I'm glad that I have the guys that I have around me and with me."

    Down by eight at the start of the second half, the Heat turned it around with a 39-14 third quarter in which they were able to get six steals and force the Celtics to none-of-seven from the perimeter.

    Butler's 17 points and three steals as the Heat turned Game 1 around were critical, but he asserted that the team knew they needed to dial up the intensity on the defensive end before coach Erik Spoelstra even addressed them.

    "It's crazy because he [Spoelstra] didn't have to say too much," he said. "We already knew what we were doing wrong – turning the ball over, not getting back. We're at home, we've got to play better basketball, as a team. We did that, went on a little run, but this was just a win.

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    "We won three quarters other than that but obviously that one is going to stand out, 39-14 on two-of-15 is tough to overcome," he said.

    "We won the transition battle, won the second-chance points battle we won the points in the paint, really had one poor quarter that hurt us.

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    Jimmy Butler scored 41 points including 27 in the second half as the Miami Heat's third-quarter charge helped them to a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 118-107 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

    After trailing 62-54 at half-time, the Heat went on a 22-2 run early in the third quarter to storm ahead and never looked back from there. The Heat are 7-0 in the 2022 playoffs at FTX Arena.

    Butler's 41-point haul was his sixth time in 12 playoff games where he has hit the 30-point mark. It was also his third 40-point night of these playoffs.

    The Heat forward shot 12-of-19 from the floor, along with eight-of-11 in the second half, while he also had nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks in a remarkable all-round display.

    Butler becomes the first player this postseason with at least 30 points and four steals in multiple games.

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    The Celtics were left to lament their 39-14 third quarter, along with their 11-of-34 three-point shooting, cooling off in the second half.

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    Jayson Tatum top scored for Boston with 29 points with two-of-nine from beyond the arc along with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.

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