Balls: For Curry, Game 3 victory is greatest yet 

click to enlarge Stephen Curry waives to the crowd after another stellar performance in Game 3. - DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP
  • David J. Phillip/AP
  • Stephen Curry waives to the crowd after another stellar performance in Game 3.

HOUSTON —Moments after the Warriors had all but put the Western Conference finals to bed on Saturday night, a typically calm Stephen Curry emerged from around the corner in a jog on his way to the locker.

"Whooooo-weeeee!" Curry finally let loose in a fit of emotion.

Whooooo-weeeee! indeed.

Curry has had many memorable moments in his career, but Game 3 against the Houston Rockets ranked as his greatest victory yet. Not only did he lead his team to within one victory of the NBA Finals with a brilliant 40-point, seven-assist performance in a 115-80 blowout, but the reigning Most Valuable Player dominated MVP runner-up James Harden on his home court.

"I always have confidence, and it's obviously nice to see the shots go down," Curry said. "But even if they weren't, I still have the same amount of confidence. Just finding a great rhythm."

If there was any doubt about which player was the real Most Valuable Player, then there is none now.

"He's the MVP," coach Steve Kerr said one more time. "He has had a brilliant season. The shooting is hard to describe because I don't think we've ever seen anybody shoot the ball the way Steph does off the dribble, off the catch."

Said teammate Klay Thompson, "That's why he's the MVP. It's that simple. He's the best player in the league and he's something special. He deserves it. He's one of the hardest-working guys that I've ever been around."

Meanwhile, Harden couldn't have been less conspicuous if he had shaved his beard. The Warriors made him even more of a priority than they had earlier in the series, and none of his teammates stepped up around him. Harden shot 3 of 16 in the field and had only four assists and no steals.

"They outworked us," Harden said. "They outworked us."

Curry's team has beaten Harden's team seven consecutive times this season, by the way.

IS THE PGA NEXT? Curry spent some time at a driving range after the team flight to Houston was delayed several hours on Friday.

According to witnesses, Curry hit 77 consecutive balls into a bucket then left with a smile on his face.

EMMY PERFORMANCE: The Rockets' Dwight Howard has long been known as one of the bad actors in a league full of them, so his sudden recovery for a knee owie comes as no surprise. He didn't look the least bit hampered in Game 2, when he scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Howard's biggest health concern was a strained right arm , which he suffered patting himself on the back after the team shootaround on Saturday morning.

"I just want to win," Howard told reporters. "We have a great opportunity in front of us to do something special, and we have to sacrifice whatever we can for the team. I don't even want to look at it as an injury. I just want to play basketball and let you guys focus on whatever is going on with my leg. I feel a lot better. I'm really happy about that."

Yeah, as opposed to when Howard went through the motions with the Los Angeles Lakers for one season.

ALVIN?! OK! Assistant coach Alvin Gentry interviewed with the New Orleans Pelicans for the head position the other day, and the Warriors had only themselves to blame for it. Because if they hadn't abused the Pelicans in the first round, former coach Monty Williams might still be there.

"I saw the report today that there's more interest between New Orleans and Alvin, and then there was a picture of Lindsey Hunter," coach Steve Kerr said. "So maybe Lindsey is involved in the search, too, and there's a picture of Alvin on his story. I don't know, it's all good stuff."

Speculation is that Simon and Theodore are next on the Pelicans' wish list.

WIDE TO THE RIGHT: At last, the NFL addressed the extra point rule -- you were more likely to board a plane with a drunken pilot (odds: 1 in 117) than a placekicker was to botch a point-after attempt (1 in 154) last season -- but the decision to move the kick back a few yards fell short of the mark.

Is the spot of the ball really the problem? Or is it the size of the target itself?

No piece of the game has been ignored more than the goalpost even if it is one of the most important of all. The uprights have been 18 feet, six inches apart since the league opened for business nearly 100 years ago. Clearly, it's time to think inside the box, not outside it. Why not reduce the gap between the uprights by four feet and raise the crossbar by two feet, for instance? That shrinks the target area by nearly 35 percent. If that's not enough, then move the goalposts back a few more yards.

THE LIST: Curry can become the fourth Most Valuable Player to beat the runner-up in the playoffs in the 3-point era. The others:

Larry Bird, Boston Celtics, 1984, 1986

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, 1991, 1992, 1997

LeBron James, Miami Heat, 2012

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to and you may get your name in the paper one day.

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