Stephen Curry has slowly entered the MVP conversation after a historic April. The Golden State Warriors superstar is averaging 40.8 points in his last 10 games while shooting 50.3% from deep and 90.9% from the free-throw line.
He clearly overshadowed Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid — another drool-worthy MVP candidate — on Monday night when Curry exploded for 49 points. The two-time MVP did his best work in the fourth quarter where he scored 20 of his game-high 40 while hitting all five of his three-point attempts. Curry single-handedly willed the Warriors to a 107-95 victory over the surging Sixers. Unreal.
“He’s been unreal lately,” Embiid told reporters. “He’s been doing a good job of just going out there and just dominating every single game. Like I said, he’s been unreal.”
Maybe the best part was the way he handled some subtle trash-talking from his brother, Seth Curry. The Sixers shooting guard was matched up on his older sibling on a few trips down the court and tried to get in his head. Obviously, it didn’t work very well — and big brother pointed it out in his post-game comments.
What did he say? Nothing. He didn’t have to.
Was there trash talk between Steph and Seth tonight?
Steph: “Always. Always. In the 4th quarter, I didn’t have to say much.” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) April 20, 2021
George Hill made his Sixers debut on Monday night and defended Curry down the stretch, just when the Warriors guard was heating up. He hid behind Draymond Green screens and drilled unbelievable shots to put the game out of reach. Hill could only marvel at his dominance.
“I think he’s on a historic run right now,” Hill told reporters. “He’s making tough shots from everywhere on the floor. He’s playing at that All-Star, that MVP caliber player that he’s been playing at many years ago.”
Stephen Curry finished with 49 pts tonight in a win vs the 76ers. It was his 5th 40-point game in April.
That passes Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan for most 40-pt games in a month by a player age-33 or older. pic.twitter.com/JhnrKr24n1
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 20, 2021
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Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris Out vs. Warriors
One answer defensively would have been Ben Simmons. Unfortunately the Sixers star was missing in action due to an undisclosed illness (not COVID-19). The 6-foot-11 point guard could have gotten physical with the much smaller Curry (6-foot-3) while blocking his angles and cutting lanes.
Once in a while, Sixers fans need a game like tonight to appreciate how great Ben Simmons is defensively. A number of Steph’s threes tonight came outside of the ball screens. Without Simmons there to fight over them and make Curry feel that pressure on the hip, it was lights out.
— Austin Krell (@NBAKrell) April 20, 2021
Instead the Sixers tried their best to contain him with the likes of Seth Curry, Matisse Thybulle, George Hill, Tyrese Maxey, and even Joel Embiid at one point. Nothing worked.
“I don’t think anybody did a great job,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We didn’t do a great job. I thought we could have guarded him differently, but really we were flat tonight.”
Steph Curry is now officially leading the NBA in scoring at 31.4 PPG ☔️ pic.twitter.com/btomnYLPbN
— Hilltop Hoops (@HilltopNBA) April 20, 2021
Remember, the Sixers were down Simmons and should-be All-Star Tobias Harris who was out with right knee soreness. Harris admitted that the injury has been lingering since he first tweaked it on Feb. 25. He’s missed two straight games and five in total.
“It’s not load maintenance, but we’re not concerned,” Rivers said of Harris. “It’ll get better. It’s getting better. We’re just very cautious, especially with him.”
MVP Chants for Steph Curry in Philly?
Believe it or not, there was a small scattering of MVP chants for Steph Curry late in the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. They weren’t overwhelmingly noisy but loud enough to make it onto ESPN’s broadcast. To be fair, there were a ton of MVP chants for Joel Embiid early in the contest.
Steph getting MVP chants from Warriors fans in Philly 👀 pic.twitter.com/Jg32VkPdKs
— ESPN (@espn) April 20, 2021
The Sixers are off until Wednesday night when they host the red-hot Phoenix Suns in what could be a way-too-early NBA Finals preview. The Sixers reside in first place in the Eastern Conference while the Suns own second in the Western Conference.