Heading into Wednesday night's game against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, the Golden State Warriors knew that they would likely need a big game from star point guard Stephen Curry to compete. All-Star power forward David Lee had been suspended for one game following his role in Tuesday's tussle with the Indiana Pacers. Curry would need to pick up the slack.
He did his part and then some. Playing the full 48 minutes, Curry scored a career-high 54 points on 18-of-28 shooting, including a mind-boggling 11-of-13 mark on three-pointers. It was a masterful performance, with Curry further proving himself as the purest shooter in the NBA.
Check out the highlight mix above and marvel at his display. After the jump, watch a package of all 11 three-pointers and find out whether Curry's performance was enough to win.
Somehow, it wasn't. The Warriors couldn't turn Curry's historically great performance into a win. The game was tight after a one-sided first quarter, but the Warriors failed to execute in the final minutes, committing two turnovers in the final 65 seconds and scoring no points in the last 2:04 to allow the Knicks to turn it into a two-possession game. For reasons not obvious to anyone watching the game, Jarrett Jack handled the ball as much, if not more than Curry. The Knicks — who had execution problems of their own — held on for the 109-105 win.
Yet, despite the final result, Curry was the story of this game. His 54 points represent the most in a loss since Kobe Bryant scored 58 against the Charlotte Bobcats in December 2006, as well as the most points scored in Madison Square Garden since Kobe dropped 61 in February 2009. These numbers put Curry in special company — only 12 other players have ever scored 50 points at MSG.
The win would have made his line mean more, obviously, but Curry did his part by scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter. A loss is always a team result, and Curry wasn't flawless. It's just hard to say what else he could have done to lock down this victory.