Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson hasn't been shy about giving his young star guards high praise; after an emotional, 100-91 Game 2 win that snapped a 30-game road losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs, his tone was more of the same.
"Offensively, I've said I've got the greatest shooting backcourt that's ever played the game," he told reporters after the game. "Call my bluff."
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry made his words resonate with the sports world as they combined for 56 points to lead the Warriors in a resilient victory on the road. But more than numbers alone, they fed off one another and benefited from the attention the other drew throughout the night.
In the first half, it was Thompson who channeled his inner-Stephen Curry and shot the lights out by making 11-of-18 field goals, finishing with 29 points and pouring in 7-of-8 from beyond the arc. When the Spurs keyed in on him in the second half, it was Curry who came through in the clutch and took the game over in the fourth quarter. Though he scored just six of his 22 points in the final 12 minutes, two of his field goals came in the final three minutes and helped seal the win. It was the perfect example of the two picking one another up. It also made things difficult for head coach Gregg Popovich and his defense.
"I thought it was polite of them to at least take turns and not both be on fire in the same night," he said. "Maybe the next iteration is that neither one of them will be hot in Game 3, that's what I'm hoping."
But are they the best backcourt in the league?
During the regular season, Curry and Thompson made 483 combined three-pointers and finished No.'s 1 and 3 among all NBA players in that category. Curry cracked the top-5 in three-point field goal percentage and finished with a 45.3 percent mark.
They've stepped it up in the playoffs, and beyond the stat sheet, they've spaced the floor for one another and given the Spurs twice the trouble. In Game 2, it was more than the aging squad could handle.
"They are younger and more athletic than us," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. "And they showed it."
The bottom line is that Curry and Thompson are the best guard tandem in the league, and evidence is in the fact that they rendered a flawlessly-executing team like the Spurs virtually ineffective as they had no answers for either. As Popovich pointed out, both must go cold for the Spurs to re-take control of the series.
(Quotes via NBA live streaming)