On March 31st, Seth Curry's 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers came to an end. After appearing in just one game with them, totalling nine minutes and three points, the Cavaliers opted not to re-sign Curry, leading him back to Santa Cruz where he has spent nearly the entire season.
The news couldn't have come at a better time for the Warriors, who lost four of their last five games in the month of March, making the final stretch of their season an important one in building momentum heading into the playoffs. With back-to-back wins at home to kick off this month, they got themselves back on the right track by securing their spot in the post-season, but having their leading scorer return with a pep in his step would help everyone get on the same page before they look to make another deep playoff run.
On Friday night, the Warriors hosted the Erie BayHawks in what was their final home game of the 2013-2014 regular season, and an easy one at that. The BayHawks have endured a tumultuous season, one filled with disappointment and defeat. At 16-33, their hopes of making the playoffs died long ago, and only four games separate them from the Delaware 87ers, who have had their own growing pains in their inaugural season. For the Warriors, this was a good opportunity to integrate Curry back into the lineup, and it didn't take him long to find his groove.
In the opening quarter, Curry helped the Warriors get off a roaring start, scoring 15 of the team's 40 points. He cooled off in the second and the BayHawks took advantage, going on a 15-8 run in the final four minutes of the half to cut their deficit into single-digits. However, the Warriors would get some breathing room in the third quarter with Curry leading the charge. In nine minutes of game time, he scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting and dished out two assists, one of which was a full-court baseball pass to Mychel Thompson that extended their lead to 24 points with a shade over three minutes to go in the frame.
After three quarters, Curry had racked up 33 points, six assists and two rebounds, and his night was over with, with the Warriors sitting comfortable on a 24-point lead. Without even playing the fourth quarter, he set a franchise record for field goals made in a single game and tied one for three-pointers made. He fell four points shy of breaking his own season-high of 36 points, which he set back on November 22nd.
When asked about Curry's performance after the game, head coach Casey Hill credited his stint with the Cavaliers for giving him some extra confidence, via SeaDubsCentral.
"You go to the NBA, you gain confidence," said Hill. "When you come back that confidence is fresh and there, and the ball comes off your hand a little freer. Hopefully he can continue that throughout the playoffs."
Curry played like a man on a mission last night and he'll need to sustain that level of play if the Warriors have any hopes of making some noise in the playoffs. Quite simply, when he plays well, it trickles down to the rest of the team, which usually leads to good results in the wins column, as shown below. And last night was no different. The Warriors as a team shot 53.8 percent from the floor and six players reached double figure scoring - a good sign of a balanced attack.
|Outcome||FGM-FGA (%)||3PM-3PA (%)||Rebounds||Assists||Turnovers||Points|
|Wins (23)||7.7-16.3 (41.8)||2.9-6.9 (41.8)||3.5||6.4||3.1||21.8|
|Losses (14)||6.2-16.0 (38.8)||2.1-7.1 (29.3)||2.4||5.1||2.4||16.6|
The Warriors will play their final regular season game tonight, when they go on the road to take on the Reno Bighorns, but no matter what the final result is of that game, they'll move no higher than the sixth seed in the standings. While they must wait another day to find out who their first-round matchup will be against - the three division leaders (L.A. D-Fenders, Fort Wayne Mad Ants and whoever reigns supreme in the three-way Central Division tie between the Iowa Energy, Sioux Falls Skyforce and Rio Grande Valley Vipers) choose their opponents - with Curry back in uniform and the team coming off of three good wins, they seem to be hitting their stride at the right time, which has got to give Casey Hill confidence moving forward.