Steph Curry wasn’t himself on Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns.
The Golden State Warriors superstar fought his way to 24 points on 8-of-22 shooting in his team’s stunning loss to the thoroughly depleted Suns, clearly a bit rusty in his return from a left shoulder injury that cost him nearly a month of play. It was Curry’s third-worst shooting night of the season by field goal percentage, and would rank even worse if not for a spirited fourth quarter comeback attempt that proved too little, too late for the Warriors.
Golden State seemed on track to finish its eight-game home stand perfect after winning its first five games without Curry, Andrew Wiggins and more. Instead, the Warriors fell to the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Phoenix’s C-team in quick succession, leaving a bad taste as they’re set to leave for a five-game road trip beginning on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Curry, though, is optimistic both his shoulder and his teammates will be up to the challenge of playing away from the friendly confines of Chase Center. Why? Golden State’s collective response in Tuesday’s fourth quarter, one spearheaded by Curry finally feeling like himself.
“I felt like I got stronger as the game went on, which is exciting knowing the body will respond going on this road trip and continue to build my endurance back to where it was before the injury,” he said. “And then hopefully get everybody on the same page of how we need to go through this road trip.”
Curry dropped 16 points and two assists in the final stanza, going 5-of-12 overall and 3-of-9 on threes. He missed multiple makable looks from three, had one splash nullified by Andre Iguodala’s moving screen and got to the free throw line four times, looking quick and explosive off the bounce.
Time ran out on Golden State’s rally. After cutting the Phoenix’s lead to six with 1:28 left, the Warriors’ game-long inability to keep the Suns off the offensive glass and free throw line doomed their comeback attempt.
Still, Curry believes that proud fourth quarter effort provided momentum Golden State will need to vanquish is persistent struggles away from home, especially as he continues re-acclimating to the speed and physicality of the game after an extended absence.
“In the fourth, the intensity of the game picked up. We obviously were playing very desperate to try to come back and make some plays,” Curry said. “I felt like myself again, and then just fell a little short with the loss. I think we all kind of found a rhythm throughout that fourth quarter stretch that we can hopefully bottle up and take on the road with us, knowing we have to play desperate on the road to beat the teams that are coming up on the schedule and rectify the way that we’ve been playing all season on the road.”