Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The Golden State Warriors, namely Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, were so off from the field earlier this season that they likely wouldn't have hit water if they shot the ball off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Now, however, the splash downs are coming with relative ease.
Curry has been raining 3-pointers the last nine games, and Thompson joined him seven games ago. Together, both guards have hit 51 3-pointers on 115 attempts (.443) since Nov. 18, with Golden State going 6-3 in that span and moving to within one game of the Los Angeles Clippers in the Pacific Division.
It's a stark contrast to the first half of November, when Curry shot just 39 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3-point range in his first nine games and Thompson hit at a pitiful 33.3 percent on field goals (30.6 3PT) his first 11 games.
Curry has poured in at least 20 points in eight of his last nine games while Thompson has hit that mark in five of his last seven.
The duo's success from the outside has occurred simultaneously with a surge from power forward-center David Lee inside. Lee is averaging 19.8 points on 54.3 percent shooting with 11.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game his last 10 games. Lee only shot 42.9 percent for 14.8 ppg over his first eight games.
While cold nights are a given with two players who shoot as many long jumpers as Curry and Thompson do -- Curry has attempted a staggering 74.5 percent of his shots from 16 feet or deeper while Thompson has taken 65 percent of his from that range -- it's encouraging that two of the better shooters in the NBA have the green light from coach Mark Jackson, even when things are going as poorly as they did earlier in the season.
Curry has been one of fantasy's best all-around point guards. With four straight games of 10 or more assists, Curry is now averaging 6.6 apg, a career best. He's also pulling down 3.9 rebounds and picking up 1.8 steals per game while shooting a cool 90 percent at the foul line.
Despite taking so many jumpers, Curry is still getting to the line 3.9 times per game, so his stellar percentage is actually making a difference for fantasy lineups.
Only six point guard eligible players are averaging more shots per game than Curry, and none are hitting more threes than the 2.6 Curry is averaging.
After missing 40 games last season with ankle issues, there are obviously some injury concerns with Curry, but he's emerged without a scrape so far while playing 37 minutes per game. Plus, he played 80 games in his rookie season and 74 in 2010-11, so it's not like he was a major injury risk prior to last season.
One man who is a huge injury risk is center Andrew Bogut, whom Golden State acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks for Monta Ellis last season. Bogut is out indefinitely while he waits for his surgically repaired ankle to heal and is not close to returning.
That's good news for Lee's fantasy owners, as he's actually been much more effective as Golden State's designated center this season with power forward Carl Landry on the floor than he has as a power forward next to Bogut and Festus Ezeli.
In 240 minutes with Ezeli on the court, Lee is shooting just 41 percent from the field. In 289 with Landry, Lee is hitting at a .610 clip.
Jackson has played Landry nearly 27 minutes per game this season and Landry has responded with 13.6 points, 6.9 boards, a .557 shooting percentage and .775 free-throw percentage. Since Brandon Rush went down with a torn ACL, Jackson has leaned heavily on a six-man rotation of Curry, Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Lee, Landry and Jarrett Jack, with Ezeli serving as a placeholder in the starting lineup.
As long as Bogut remains out, things shouldn't change much for the basketball team by the Bay. Considering how well things are going, who would want them to?
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