Ersan Ilyasova played just 52 games in Detroit but it was more than enough time for Pistons fans to familiarize themselves with the skills and tendencies of the 6-foot-10 Turkish forward.
He’s got a silky stroke, loves taking charges, and has the foot speed of a 47-year-old Bill Laimbeer.
And so, when Ilyasova, now with the Orlando Magic, found himself switched out on Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry Monday night, the situation was critical. A six-foot-three whirling dervish with a live dribble against a man who may or may not beat Jim Leyland in a footrace? That’s a recipe for disaster.
But here’s the plot twist: Ersan actually held his own. He didn’t bite on Curry’s initially stab into the paint and actually bodied Stephen until he was over five feet behind the 3-point line. Unfortunately, that’s right in Curry’s wheelhouse. Already the single season record holder for most made 3-pointers (breaking his own mark of 286, set last season), here’s how Steph hit number 300:
In all, Curry finished with 41 points (7-of-13 from deep), 13 rebounds, and four steals in leading the Warriors (56-6) to a 119-113 victory. The win was Golden State’s 45th straight at home, setting another new NBA record.
For now, the all-time single season wins record, 72-10 set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, remains within striking distance. But with 20 games remaining, including three against the San Antonio Spurs (who stand just 3.5 games behind the Warriors in the West), it’s not going to be a walk in the park.
Either way, after a disappointing loss to the Lakers on Sunday, the Warriors are officially back on track, and Andrew Bogut knows it:
i just want someone to believe in me the way andrew bogut believes in steph curry https://t.co/QTUwfwkH6c
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) March 8, 2016