“Did you know Beal had 50 before a tip tonight,” a reporter asked Steph Curry after Golden State beat the Thunder on Saturday. “Of course I did,” said Steph. “Everytime somebody gets 50 you hear about it.”
But Curry went out of his way to hear about this one.
Following Beal’s haymaker in a 133-132 loss to the Pacers (he left the game early due to a hamstring injury), Steph needed 22 points to retake the No.1 spot on the NBA’s scoring list. He had 24 by the end of the first quarter.
Curry finished the game with 49 in three quarters, after sitting out the last 12 minutes of the Warriors 136-97 blowout against OKC. That bumped his scoring average to 31.9 — 0.5 more than the Wizards‘ superstar. With four games left in the regular season — both the Wizards and the Warriors are fighting for the play-in spot — the race for the scoring title is going down to the wire. But it’s not the first time.
In ’78, the award was decided on the last day of the season. David Thompson, who was trailing George Gervin by 15 points, first put up 73 in a loss to the Pistons. Going into the game against the New Orleans Jazz, Iceman needed 58 to secure the scoring title. He finished with 63.
16 years later, the margin between David Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal was 0.6 points. The Admiral dropped career-high 71 points against the Clippers in what was a collective effort by the Spurs to secure him the 93/94 scoring title. O’Neal, who said he couldn’t care less about the award, responded with a 32-point performance, wrapping up the season at 29.3 points per game — 0.5 shy of Robinson.
Today, Beal and Curry are in a similar situation. Let’s just hope an injury to the Wizards superstar won’t be the factor that decides the race. The Athletic’s Shams Charania already reported Beal is ruled out for today’s game against the Hawks. Fingers crossed that’s the only one he’ll sit out.