Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr made his NBA living as deadly outside shooter, and then, after his playing days, as someone who could offer lucid explanations for the seemingly most insignificant basketball minutiae.
However, not even Kerr could understand exactly what just happened Thursday night at the Smoothie King Center in the Warriors’ improbable 123-119 overtime playoff victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Golden State grabbed an imposing 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set for Saturday night in New Orleans.
BOX SCORE: WARRIORS 123, PELICANS 119 (OT)
How did his team overcome a 20-point, fourth-quarter deficit?
How did guard Steph Curry unleash a miracle 3-pointer from the left corner over the outstretched arms of forward Anthony Davis, the NBA’s best shot-blocker, with 2.8 seconds left to send the game into overtime?
How did Golden State outscore the Pelicans 39-19 in the fourth quarter, swallowing up 10 offensive rebounds and scoring 16 second-chance points?
“I’m going to have to watch the tape,” Kerr said, smiling as if he didn’t believe what he just saw. “I’m not sure what happened. I’m as startled as everyone else.”
A shaken New Orleans coach Monty Williams said, “We have to take ownership of it. We can’t sugarcoat it. We’re all feeling like dirt right now.”
The man with the shovel was the frail-looking Curry, the guy with a crooked smile and an assassin’s heart.
Curry scored 17 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and even though he didn’t have a “heat check” shooting night — he was just 10-for-29 from the floor overall — he made every big shot he needed as Golden State outscored New Orleans 39-19 in final period to force the overtime.
Curry’s game-tying shot actually came courtesy of a blown defensive assignment by the Pelicans, who were leading 108-105 with 9.6 seconds left and wanted to foul Curry before he had a chance to bury them.