Fresh off a 51-point outburst against Dallas last week, Stephen Curry is going to get the unique opportunity to dazzle NBA fans in a different way during All-Star weekend.
Curry will face John Wall of the Wizards in a competition called "Battle of the Game Changers." Both point guards have endorsement deals with Degree, which is staging this event Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden with televised coverage on NBA TV.
Degree has been billing this as a "shot-for-shot competition" with some sort online input from fans, but the description has been thin on details. Perhaps that's deliberate to build the intrigue, but it seems like this will be a twist on the old schoolyard game of H-O-R-S-E.
"It'll be fierce, heated competition I know we're both looking forward to," Curry says. "I'm pretty confident I'll take the crown."
Curry and Wall have been trash-talking each other and unveiling pump-up videos from Degree.
This isn't an NBA-sanctioned event, but the league has dabbled in H-O-R-S-E with Kevin Durant winning at All-Star weekend in 2009 and 2010 before it was discontinued.
During the 1977–78 season, the NBA held a 32-man tournament with segments running at halftime on the game-of-the-week telecast on CBS. Paul Westphal beat Pete Maravich in the finals. Here's a clip Maravich against the Iceman, George Gervin, in an earlier round:
Curry is also scheduled to participate in the NBA's Three-Point Shooting Contest on Saturday night. One of his biggest rivals could be Warriors teammate Klay Thompson, who recently grabbed the NBA's attention with a 52-point outing against the Kings, including a league record for scoring in a quarter with 37 in the third.
"It was a close game, so we were trying to find ways to open it up and get some momentum," Curry says. "Around the seven-minute mark, that's when the real flurry began. After he makes his third shot, it's like we just have to find him wherever he is. He knocks down a couple more, you're like this is an unbelievable. He goes for three more in a row. You don't realize he didn't miss in the quarter, I didn't realize at least, until after that. I just knew he was on fire."
With Curry and Thompson developing into an elite backcourt tandem, the Warriors made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, their first back-to-back trips since 1990-91 and 1991-92. The Splash Brothers were also part of Team USA's Gold Medal squad at the FIBA Basketball World Cup last summer.
"It makes it so much easier, obviously, when you have a guy who can create for himself," Curry says of Thompson. "He also makes plays for others. He's a great talent and a guy that I love playing with in my backcourt, and hopefully, we stay together for a very long time."
Curry is under contract through 2016-17 and Thompson through 2018-19, but the team's spectacular first half of the season, which has included a 16-game winning streak, has Warriors fans thinking the time is now to end the franchise's 40-year title drought.
"Obviously, there's a lot of work to do left and you want to be the best team at the end of the year," Curry says. "We're laying the foundation for that right now. We're learning a lot as we go through. You don't want to be that team that looks back and says we were really good in January and not do anything in April."
It is impossible to ignore the one main difference from last season has been the coaching change from Mark Jackson, who had established a close relationship with Curry, to Steve Kerr. Curry says Kerr hasn't made any drastic changes, but has straightened the team's edges.
"We won 51 games last year with Coach Jackson," Curry says. "With the same roster that we have back, it's just kind of fine tuning things that Coach Kerr's seen that he wants implemented. Whether it's more ball movement, body movement on offense, whether it's different lineups he wanted to see on the floor, and making those judgment calls. Having the same core back really helps ascend us to the top of the Western Conference."
How high will the Warriors go?
"For us, it's about winning a championship," he says. "We have the talent to do it, the versatility, the depth and the experience. I dare to say to championship or bust, but it's more so just about going out there and taking advantage of this opportunity to win a Western Conference title and go from there."
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.