Genes certainly have something to do with it.
But even by Curry family standards, which pretty much set the bar for anybody in the universe when it comes to shooting a basketball, Seth Curry’s torrid streak over the last two months has crossed over the border from incredible to unbelievable.
“He’s in an amazing groove,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He shoots the ball great even when he’s not in a quote-unquote groove. He’s just a great shooter. Really, historically great, when you look at numbers.”
He speaks the truth. Since the calendar turned to 2020, Curry has hit 51.3 percent of his 3-point shots. And this is not a small sample size. He’s making an average of three triples in those 27 games he’s played since Jan. 1.
He’s also averaging 15.9 points in that stretch and has been the anchor of an overall shooting uptick for the Mavericks. They have shot 37.6 percent since the first of the year, which has helped them climb to 37 percent as a team for the season, eighth in the NBA.
This is not a short sample size. The Mavericks have become a dangerous 3-point team.
“I felt like this time would come, sooner or later because I started off not shooting it as well as I normally do,” Curry said. “Guys are finding me and putting me in good positions. Our team is real tough to guard.”
A big part of that is because Curry has been so lethal from long range.
“Seth is not missing, at all,” Kristaps Porzingis said. “I still have to improve to be on that level. He’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever played with.”
Again, it runs in the family. And Seth Curry couldn’t resist poking a little fun at his father, Dell, who was one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in history – long before the long ball became more popular than layups or dunks, as it is in today’s game.
Curry was asked about parts of his game, defense in particular, that sometimes get overlooked because of his pure shooting prowess.
“It’s like it’s been like that my whole life, growing up with my dad, who’s really only a shooter,” Curry said, drawing laughter from a collection of reporters, some of whom actually covered Dell Curry. “And me and Steph are obviously a lot more than that. Yeah, that’s how it’s been.”
To that, Carlisle said that Curry indeed doesn’t get enough credit for the work he does not only on defense, but in creating offense for others as well as himself.
“We obviously need him to keep doing what he’s doing,” Carlisle said. “And I keep saying it: he’s underrated at the other end, too.”
More of the same, please: The Mavericks had to muster up all the cohesion and effort they could to eke out a 127-123 overtime win against New Orleans on Wednesday.
Carlisle said it’s exactly the kind of game the Mavericks can learn from as they close in on clinching a playoff berth, which could happen in the next two weeks.
“We want as many games as we can get like last night to help prepare us,” Carlisle said. “There’s no substitute for being (in that situation). A lot of our recent talk and video with the players is to prepare them for that challenge.
“Last night (against the Pelicans), we didn’t play a perfect game by any stretch. But the level of togetherness that we had to have to outlast those guys was something that we need. And we needed to experience that.”
Next: The Mavericks got an up-close look at rookie Zion Williamson Wednesday.
On Friday, they’ll see the other rookie of the year candidate, Ja Morant, when Memphis visits American Airlines Center.
“They play hard,” Carlisle said. “They play together. Morant is a great player that sets the table for a lot of the stuff they do. Their rebounding is a big problem and they do a great job of deflecting and causing turnovers.”
Curry was asked if he had a choice for rookie of the year.
“I’m rolling with my Duke guy,” the former Blue Devil said. “I’m going with Zion. Ja’s been doing it all year, so he’s got to be the favorite for rookie of the year. But Zion’s doing what he’s doing.”
Injury update: Luka Doncic was sent home from practice on Thursday because he was not feeling well, Carlisle said.
“We obviously hope he’s feeling better for tomorrow,” Carlisle said.
Meanwhile, Dorian Finney-Smith did not practice, but Carlisle said he was feeling much better after suffering a hip flexor against the Pelicans on Wednesday.
“He’s doing better,” Carlisle said. “He’ll be a game-time decision.”
Finney-Smith is the only Mavericks who has played in all 63 games this season.