OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — At the end of the Golden State Warriors' practice Monday, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson lined up at opposite baskets and engaged in a shooting contest.
The game was simple: first person to make seven shots from each of the five spots beyond the 3-point line wins. Or, first person to miss two shots in a row loses. Both had two teammates — one to rebound, and another to make a clean pass.
Each won once. No tiebreaker needed.
The outcome seemed fitting considering Golden State's backcourt tandem has shot its way to the top together this season. The pair have combined to make 444 3-pointers, surpassing the 435 Orlando's Dennis Scott and Nick Anderson hit in the 1995-96 season for the most by any duo in league history.
As for who usually wins when Curry and Thompson face each other?
"It's pretty even," Thompson said. "It just depends on the day, whoever got better sleep that night."
Entering Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Curry has made 247 shots from beyond the arc and Thompson has hit 197. Both already have eclipsed Dorell Wright's franchise record of 194, set two years ago while shooting 37.6 percent.
Even more impressive might be the rate the current Warriors tandem has shot.
Curry has hit 45.2 percent of his shots from 3-point range, second only to Atlanta's Kyle Korver (45.5 percent) among players with at least 150 attempts. Thompson is just shy of 40 percent.
Scott shot 42.5 percent when he set an NBA record with 267 3-pointers made, but was surpassed when Ray Allen hit 269 for Seattle in 2005-06 — a mark Curry could conceivably top with five games remaining. Anderson shot 39 percent in that 1995-96 season, when the Shaquille O'Neal-led Magic lost to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals.
"That's pretty cool of an accomplishment, to sustain that kind of shooting all year," Curry said. "And for two guys to do it in the same season, it's pretty cool. I know Klay would've broken some records by himself."
The biggest challenge for the Warriors has been maximizing the duo's abilities.
With both shooting at a historic pace, opponents have started to chase them off the perimeter. That has forced Warriors coach Mark Jackson to often go to a three-guard lineup at the end of games, with Jarrett Jack at point guard and Curry and Thompson on the wings.
Some nights that lineup has been effective. Others, not.
Sunday night's 97-90 loss to the Utah Jazz was the latter, when the Warriors wasted a chance to seal the franchise's first playoff berth since 2007 and second in 19 years. Curry, in particular, took just five shots in the fourth quarter after scoring 17 points in the first half. He finished with 22 points.
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