Curry leaves Spurs' Neal behind
Stephen Curry has taken just 589 three-point attempts, while shooting 44.7 percent from deep. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
After Stephen Curry scored 32 points in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, he approached all-star forward David Lee in the locker room.
"Hey man, we'll get you involved more (in the second half)," Curry told Lee, who was 2-for-3 from the field at the time.
Lee wasn't having it.
"I said, 'Steph, when you're shooting the ball like this, I'm looking to do one thing and that's set screens and find a way to get you the ball,'" Lee said.
It's a role Lee has found himself in quite a bit this season.
Curry hit nine threes against the Lakers before adding seven Monday against the Spurs to climb to within one of Ray Allen's single-season record for three-pointers (269). The way Curry has been shooting, it wouldn't come as a surprise if he breaks Allen's mark two possessions into Wednesday's regular-season finale at Portland.
When Allen set the record in the 2005-06 season, he -- like Curry -- missed four games, but took 653 attempts to do it (41.2 percent). Curry has taken just 589 attempts, while shooting 44.7 percent from deep.
"I’ve never been on a team that has had a guy shoot the ball as well as he has," Lee said. "There has never been anyone who has shot as well as he has this season."
Coach Mark Jackson agreed wholeheartedly.
"I don’t know who second place is for best shooter in the world, but he certainly has first place tied up," Jackson said. "It’s unbelievable.”
Curry hasn't been in touch with Allen about the record, but he's known the NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers since he was 9 years old. Allen was in his third year in the NBA when the Milwaukee Bucks acquired Curry's father, Dell, for the 1998-99 season.
The two players combined for 143 threes for that year (Allen 74, Curry 69), with Curry coming off the bench to spell Allen.
While Allen's single-season record is likely to fall on Wednesday, his all-time record for threes -- 2,855 and rising -- could eventually be within Curry's reach too.
Both players came into the league at 21 years old and through four seasons, Curry (640) is well ahead of where Allen (497) was at the same time despite having played in 39 fewer games.
It wasn't as if Allen got off to a slow start, either.
Nobody in NBA history hit more threes than Curry in their first four seasons.
Of the top-five on the NBA's all-time three-point list -- Allen, Reggie Miller, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Paul Piece -- exactly zero were within 100 threes of where Curry is now.
While Curry has attempt more threes than those players did, his accuracy hasn't suffered. His 44.7 percent career average from deep is nearly six percent higher than where any of those five were through their first four seasons.
The key for Curry's longterm prospects will be his health, but if he's able to play 78 games a year and average 3.0 threes per game (he's averaged 2.5 a game for his career and 3.5 this year), he would pass Allen's current total in the 2022-23 season, at age 34.
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