Inside the Paint: Jackson sends message leaving starters in vs. Grizzlies
Stephen Curry is shooting 50 percent from the field in Charlotte and an astonishing 61.9 percent from 3-point distance. (USATSI)
Programming note: Warriors-Bobcats coverage tips off today at 3:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply)
For the past five years, going to Charlotte has had a particular meaning for the Warriors. And, no, it's not an automatic win against one of the league's downtrodden franchises.
While the Warriors have had an unexceptional past against the Bobcats, who they face on Monday, Stephen Curry always looks forward to the trip. It's home.
And it's also a place where the point guard has a tendency to become a long-distancing shooting superhero.
"It never gets old to me,'' Curry told reporters at the Monday morning shootaround. "This is my fifth time now. Every time I see faces from my high school or even at Davidson, they still support me. And I sincerely appreciate that.
"And my family enjoys being able to see me play in person, instead of having to stay up real late for West Coast games.''
More often than not, Curry gives family and friends more than mere tickets. He also gives them a show. He averages 25.2 points per game against the Bobcats, his second-highest total against any team. He's shooting 50 percent from the field and, more impressive, an astonishing 61.9 percent from 3-point distance.
After a relatively slow start to the season, Curry is looking more like himself lately.
"He's playing great, taking over games, obviously with his ability to make shots,'' coach Mark Jackson said. "But he's doing more than that."
Curry has moved into ninth place among NBA scorers (22.5 ppg), he's third in assists (8.9) and he's No. 4 in 3-pointers made.
"I feel like I continue to get better,'' he said. "There are some parts of my game that I can continue to focus on when it comes to sticking to our defensive principles and continuing to be a good playmaker, making the right decisions.''
Jackson, who spent 17 seasons as an NBA point guard, occasionally points out the need to reduce turnovers, as he should. That's the least consistent area of Curry's game. But the coach will accept that as part of the process of becoming a superstar.
"We've seen recently, he's very, very capable – which we knew – of taking over games,'' Jackson said. "He's the best player on the floor, and he acts like at the end of games.''
Never more than when he's in a comfortable environment, as he will be Monday night.
[RELATED: Curry sets franchise record for 3-pointers]
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Curry vs. Kemba Walker. It's the hometown star against the youngster who leads the Bobcats. Walker is Charlotte's leading scorer (16.7 ppg) and primary playmaker. He'll have his hands full, however, trying to contain the taller Curry.
Andrew Bogut vs. Al Jefferson: Against low-post terrors, Bogut is 1-1 on this road trip, torched by Dwight Howard last Friday and getting the best of Zach Randolph on Saturday. Jefferson may be the most skilled block scorer in the Eastern Conference. He'll need a huge game for the Bobcats to have a good chance.
SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors are 9-8 against Charlotte, 4-5 when playing them in North Carolina. INJURY UPDATE: Backup point guard Toney Douglas (stress reaction, left tibia) participated in the shootaround and will be a game-time decision. Forward Andre Iguodala (strained left hamstring) went through parts of the shootaround but is not expected to play.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors, who have played 14 of their first 22 on the road – for the first time ever – return to Oakland to meet the Mavericks on Wednesday at Oracle Arena.