INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Stephen Curry came up just short of Ray Allen’s 3-point record Monday night. He still walked away with a win — and a smile.
The 33-year-old sharp-shooting guard made five 3s, scored 26 points and rallied the Golden State Warriors to a 102-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
He’s two treys short of surpassing Allen, something he’s likely to do Tuesday night on the NBA’s grandest stage, Madison Square Garden. Allen made 2,973 during his 18-year career.
In Indianapolis, the near-sellout crowd was less interested in the final result than seeing history. Fans roared each time Curry lined up a 3, gasped when he drove to the basket and erupted each time he inched closer to Allen’s mark.
For the final 90 seconds, everyone inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse was standing. Some stuck around to give the two-time MVP and three-time NBA champ a proper sendoff after he finished postgame interviews.
But this was not the indomitable Curry everyone expected. He missed his first three beyond the arc, finished 5 of 15 on 3s — and some were badly off the mark. Clearly, he was pressing. Even Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted Curry had been trying too hard over the past several games.
“I’m enjoying the moment, knocking on the doorstep. It’s pretty surreal,” Curry said. “You just keep playing basketball, taking shots you think you can make and enjoy the experience.”
The Pacers defense made it awfully challenging. It constantly tried to run Curry and his teammates off the 3-point line and for most of the night it worked. Indiana, led by Domantas Sabonis’ 30 points and 11 rebounds, just couldn’t do it long enough to close out a fourth consecutive win..
“I know he was trying to get the record tonight and in my mind, I wasn’t going to let him do it on our court,” said Malcolm Brogdon, who had 23 points and eight assists. “When you slow him down, you expect to win the game. We slowed him down.”
But Curry did just enough to win this one.
His final 3 got the Warriors within 100-98, and on the next possession, he decided against a 3 and drove for the tying layup with 48.5 seconds to go. Then, after getting a defensive stop, Curry had a chance at tying the record but it was off the mark and Kevon Looney broke the tie with a putback.
“The play was set up perfectly, the 3 just didn’t go in and Loon did what Loon does, which is go get the offensive board to give us the lead and eventually the win,” said Draymond Green, who had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Warriors: The Warriors still have not lost back-to-back games this season. … Curry also had six rebounds and six assists, while Draymond Green had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists. … Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points, and Looney had 14 points and eight rebounds. … Golden State was 8 of 30 on 3s and had 17 turnovers. … The Warriors have held 29 straight opponents to less than 50% shooting from the field.
Pacers: Brogdon had six rebounds. … Caris LeVert finished with 19 points and Myles Turner had six points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. … The Pacers were 7 for 30 on 3s. … They led 98-83 with less than three minutes to go.
Coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t the only Indiana Pacer missing on the bench. Guard Justin Holiday missed another game as he continues to work his way into shape.
Assistant coach Lloyd Pierce said he spoke with Carlisle, saying he continues to feel better, but Holiday has not yet returned to action after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Nov. 30.
“Justin called me and said I’m not playing tonight, he said he needed more time and we respect that,” Pierce said.
The Warriors also are concerned about what’s happening around the country and around the league as they spend this week on the road.
“We’ll address the team about that and make sure everybody is doing their best to stay safe,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
Warriors: Makes its third stop on a five-game trip Tuesday at New York.
Pacers: In Milwaukee on Thursday for their first road game in December.