With a driving layup in the first quarter Monday night, Stephen Curry became the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer, surpassing the legendary Wilt Chamberlain.
And that was just the start of things.
Curry scored 53 points (the ninth 50-point game of his career, He made 10 three-pointers, the 18th game in his career with 10 or more, also an NBA record, and went 15 of 16 from the free-throw line.
The performance fueled a 116-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets, a signature win for the Warriors.
Chamberlain scored 17,783 points in six seasons with the Warriors in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Curry, in his 12th season with the Warriors, entered the game needing 19 points to pass Chamberlain. He scored 11 points in the first six minutes, including a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 90 seconds. He then made a pair of free throws and three more treys to put him at 17 for the quarter and 17,782 for his career.
Then, with 1:40 to go in the first, Curry put his head down and drove past Nuggets guard P.J. Dozier and shouldered his way through center JaVale McGee before finishing with a right-handed layup. As he ran back on defense, Curry grinned and blew a kiss to the rafters, where Chamberlain’s No. 13 hangs.
“It was kind of surprising to see him break that record in the first quarter,” head coach Steve Kerr said, chuckling. “We all figured he’d find a way to get 19 points tonight, but maybe not in the first quarter.”
Steph Curry passes Wilt Chamberlain for the most points scored in Warriors franchise history pic.twitter.com/6t7WdHot8r
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 13, 2021
Added former teammate Andre Igoudala on Twitter: “A god.”
Vince Carter sent congratulations via Twitter. “It’s amazing watching you do what you do for so long,” Carter wrote. “From an anxious young pup to a 2 time MVP… Shine on!!”
Curry, 33, finished the quarter with 21 points. From the very start, he seemed driven to get the record out of the way quickly.
“I knew it was close,” he said. “Once I got to 11 or so, I was going to go after it.”
Curry now leads the franchise, established in 1946, in points, assists and 3-point baskets.
“It’s tough to put into words what Steph means to us as an organization just because of the person he is,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Obviously the player but the human being, which is so much of why he’s the player that he is — his humility, his work-ethic, his focus, his passion for the game. He sets the tone for us every day.”
Said his teammate Damion Lee: “How the organization has turned around and become one of the best organizations in the league over the past 12 years is a testament to who he is and what he’s about.”
Chamberlain, who last played for the Warriors in 1965, had been the franchise leader in career points scored for 56 years. He’s now second, followed by Rick Barry (16,447), Paul Arizin (16,266) and Chris Mullin (16,235).