Updated: February 28, 2013, 2:08 AM ET

1. Stephen Curry Caps Night With Shorts Story

By Brian Windhorst | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Stephen Curry needed his shorts back.

In the minutes after an historic 54-point performance at Madison Square Garden, a Golden State Warriors official had gathered up his uniform to put away for safe keeping. It might end up, after all, in some Hall of Fame or on Curry's own wall someday.

But Curry still needed his shorts so he could go for his standard postgame treatment on his delicate ankles. They had to be fetched.

Stephen Curry
Bruce Bennet/Getty ImagesWhen Stephen Curry passed the 50-point mark, he couldn't help but crack a smile.

Those ankles have been the subject of so many questions over the past few years, especially the troublesome right one that needed two surgeries in less than a year. It made getting excited over Curry's future and his lithe shooting stroke feel risky. It made the Warriors stew over giving him a four-year, $44 million extension last fall when he'd managed to play just 26 games the season before.

Yet as Curry nailed 3-pointer after 3-pointer Wednesday night, winning the respect of the hard-to-impress Garden crowd as they broke into murmurs and gasps every time he touched the ball, it was a reminder of why it's easy to fall for Curry's immense shooting talent.

The Warriors lost to the New York Knicks, 109-105, mostly because they were without the suspended big man David Lee and the injured franchise center Andrew Bogut. Tyson Chandler had 28 rebounds, the second most in an NBA game this season, and the Knicks had 27 second-chance points to the Warriors' two. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Warriors just couldn't overcome that.

Curry didn't win, but he sure left everyone who watched with a memory.

He's been called too small, too injury-prone and too one-dimensional. But he's also one of the greatest pure shooters the NBA has seen in a generation. And he was showing it off.

"I've seen a lot of great performances in this building, and that goes up there," Warriors coach and former St. John's and Knicks guard Mark Jackson said. "That shooting performance was a thing of beauty. To the viewing audience, that's getting hot. To us, that's Steph Curry. He's as good of a shooter as anybody that's played."

Curry made 11 of 13 3-pointers, one off the single-game record of 12 held by Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall. It was truly a compliment to the Knicks that he only got 13 of them off, completely swarming him in the second half with traps and double-teams that limited his numbers. If you can call putting up the most points in the NBA this season "limiting."

He still scored 27 points in the second half, hitting several bombs that weren't just remarkable in their difficulty but in their precision as they ripped through the net like they were launched by a machine. Curry has long been an expert at dealing with teams throwing bodies at him to do anything to stop him from making another 3.

It reminded Curry of his first-ever trip to play in New York back in 2008 when West Virginia threw everything they had at him, but he still nailed three 3-pointers in the final minutes to lead tiny Davidson College to a win in the Jimmy V Classic.

"There was a lot of energy in the arena," Curry said. "When I made a couple shots you could hear the crowd a little bit. It was electric, and I was kind of running off adrenaline down the stretch."

Curry played all 48 minutes, which probably isn't exactly the best course of action. Jackson didn't think he had a choice, and his conscience, it seemed, wouldn't let him take Curry out. Not with him on a streak like this in that building in front of that crowd.

Including Tuesday's tough loss at Indiana, where Curry ended up in a scuffle that saw him get thrown to the court in a move that got the Pacers' Roy Hibbert suspended, Curry has now made a numbing 18 of 23 3-pointers.

Curry has that kind of ability, the kind that makes you throw the game plan under the bench and just watch.

"We were just getting out of his way and letting him do his thing," teammate Jarrett Jack said. "If you had an opportunity to screen his man you did it, whether it was part of the play or not."

A couple hours before the game, Curry found out he was getting fined $35,000 by the league for "escalating the altercation" with the Pacers. His new contract doesn't kick in until next season. This season, he earns $35,000 a game.

So he essentially was playing for free Wednesday night. And playing freely.

"Once I started to see that 3-ball go down in transition and all sorts of spots on the floor, I knew it was going to be a good night," Curry said. "My teammates started jabbing at me. They were in my ear, treating me like a pitcher who was throwing a no-hitter. Not touching my right hand and all that funny stuff."

Curry has played in 53 of the Warriors' 58 games thus far. He's tweaked his ankle a couple times, causing him to miss some games. It will probably continue to be a concern for the rest of his career. He's had a few shooting slumps this season. Actually, he's having the worst overall shooting season of his four-year career at 44 percent. He was snubbed by the coaches for an All-Star selection.

But this has been, without much doubt, a completely successful season. He's leading the Warriors in scoring, assists and steals and is proving more and more that he's not just a great shooter, but an excellent all-around player. He's proven his ankle has recovered from the surgeries. He's making the Warriors' investment, which was made before he played a game this year, look like a bargain.

Wednesday, even in a loss, was the cherry. There's great shooting nights and there's great shooting nights at the Garden. Curry's had plenty of the former in his young life, but he might never again have a night like the latter.

"I knew I was knocking down a lot of shots; I knew it was a good night," Curry said. "I just didn't realize what that meant."

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