A rewind to Stephen Curry’s magical night at Madison Square Garden

Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Looking back at a magical night for Stephen Curry at Madison Square Garden.  

Stephen Curry is returning to a very special place Tuesday night. A venue that’s served as two turning points in his career. Madison Square Garden has been host to numerous vintage performances. Kobe’s 61-point display. LeBron’s 50-point show. Melo’s 62-point record-breaking performance.

Those are just a few, but eight years ago, we were given a glimpse of what would soon take over the NBA, and bless us with one of the best six-year stretches of all-time.

Stephen Curry had given us flashes long before this night, but injuries were beginning to sway his career early. The Golden State Warriors re-invested in Curry, and they were given a place in NBA history. Flashes did indeed start before February 27, 2013, in fact, this wasn’t the first time Steph showed the MSG crowd what he was capable of.

After an amazing tournament run, he returned for his junior year, and with the exposure, he earned in March, his Davidson team was placed in the midseason Jimmy V Classic, which took place at MSG. They faced a West Virginia team coached by Bob Huggins, who just defeated Duke in the same tournament Steph ran wild in.

Curry was coming off a 44-point performance against NC State, but as most of Huggins teams are, their defense was smothering and the Mountaineers harassed Curry for about 35 minutes.

The final four minutes were a different story. Steph scored the final 14 points for the Wildcats, including three big 3’s to steal the game from Da’Sean Butler and the Mountaineers while adding another impressive win to his resume. He finished with 27 points and 11 dimes, but the timing of his buckets was more impressive than anything. This wasn’t the type of performance you’d see in college, but we knew Stephen Curry was special.

Fast forward five years and Steph is leading the Golden State Warriors into MSG to face Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. This Knicks team is a consensus all-time favorite, but Carmelo wasn’t the only star to shine that evening.

The second quarter of this game is when Chef Curry was born. Steph would hit an assortment of three’s and bring the Madison Square Garden crowd to their feet. The fans, the players, even the announcers knew they were witnessing the beginning of something special. That would only be the beginning of the show though.

Curry would rev things up in the second half. He continued to torment Raymond Felton, losing the veteran guard through screens and movement, draining a trio of three-pointers in the process, including a buzzer-beater that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The show would only get better in the fourth as the Warriors and Knicks were battling in what was a tightly contested game. Steph would hit an eye-popping three over reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year’s outstretched arms, and then he’d give the Warriors a lead with a smooth transition 3. The Steph Shimmy was born and so was the legend of Chef Curry.

"“The Knicks crowd is stunned”"

Words from the legendary Doris Burke as we witnessed a star being born. He was in a zone, something different. We’d seen Reggie Miller destroy The Garden and we’d seen Ray Allen heat up, but we hadn’t witnessed a 3-point shooter go unconscious like this. Late game heroics from Carmelo Anthony would crash the party, but Curry was the real story that evening. He finished with 54 points and shot 11-13 from deep.

Steph Curry made the NBA realize that three is more than two. He’s shot opposing teams into playing his way, winning titles along the way. We witnessed the whole process and watched him grow from Cinderella to Champion. To say things changed in one night would be a stretch, but one night did signal a shift in the league and a sign of things to come.

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This had every element of a coming-out party. For so long Curry was viewed as the underdog, but even in a loss, he shed light on the NBA world. We’d saw glimpses at Davidson, but health concerns would raise questions that were answered that night. He’d go on to set the record for threes in a season, and MVP seasons came shortly after. A magical evening kicked off a run we won’t forget and to do it in The Garden, in that fashion was the icing on the cake.