Nov 16, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts in front of Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills (8) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Warriors blew out the Nets on Tuesday night to improve to 12-2 on the season
Steph Curry came out on top in a duel of the MVP favorites with nine threes and 37 points in 29 minutes
Curry’s MVP odds have shortened to +250 at FanDuel
The Warriors beat the Nets 117-99 on Tuesday night. Golden State improved its NBA-best record to 12-2, while the Nets dropped to 10-5 on the season. This was a meeting of two title contenders, but also a duel of two former teammates who sit atop the NBA MVP odds.
Steph Curry was +300 to win his third MVP as recently as November, 9th. He’s now +250 at FanDuel. Former Warrior Kevin Durant follows Curry at +480 with the two threatening to make this into a two-man race.
2021-22 NBA MVP Odds
Odds to Win MVP
Odds as of Nov 17 at FanDuel
Warriors Prove They’re for Real
Some questioned Golden State’s red-hot start. Despite owning the best net rating in the league by a wide margin, there were skeptics, who pointed towards a favorable schedule. The Warriors are quickly proving they are more than flat-track bullies. They have now beaten the Lakers, Clippers, Hawks, Bulls and Nets.
The Dubs are especially dominant in the 3rd pic.twitter.com/p1D3slZQck
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) November 17, 2021
Much has been made of how the Warriors are blowing teams out in the third quarter, and they repeated that trick on Tuesday. The game swung back and forth in the opening 18 minutes or so, but Golden State put together a 14-0 run over the end of the second and start of the third to build what proved to be an unassailable lead. They outscored the Nets 35-18 in the third.
The Warriors proving they are a legitimate contender removes one of the concerns about Curry as an MVP candidate. The greatest shooter of all-time was effectively ruled out of the award running last season because they didn’t win enough games. That doesn’t look likely to be an issue in 2021-22.
Curry dropped 37 points in 29 minutes with nine threes on Tuesday. It was an MVP-level performance, a true statement against the title favorites on their homecourt.
Durant’s Off Night
Finishing with 19 points and a -24 in 32 minutes, Kevin Durant endured his worst night of the season against the Warriors. Golden State mixed up their defense, changing the matchup and switching between man-to-man, zone and occasional box-and-ones.
The 2013-14 MVP made just six of his nine field goals and came in below his season averages in his assist and rebound totals. A slow night is perhaps not surprising given the Warriors’ league-leading defense.
STEPH FROM THE LOGO. KD and Harden’s reaction 💀🍿 pic.twitter.com/OUU2Rm1IPj
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 17, 2021
Durant remains second favorite in MVP betting, and still leads the league in scoring. Curry continues to build a lead, however, and James Harden is looking more like himself. Harden has seen an uptick in his free throw attempts and scoring, which was evident again on Tuesday with 24 points and 11 free throws. If the former Rocket gets somewhere close to his best, that could work against Durant in the MVP race. Voters often penalize players for having an elite teammate, as Curry and Durant found out during their time together in Oakland.
Curry and Durant are deserving favorites right now. While his final line was underwhelming, Durant’s first quarter performance illustrated just how unstoppable he’s been this season. Curry was manipulating the defense with his off-ball movement, pulling up from pretty much half court and playing solid defense.
Steve Kerr asked what makes his offensive system difficult to defend: “Steph Curry.” pic.twitter.com/E0S3o7PiXg
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 17, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic are worth keeping an eye on in this market, too. Both are intriguing at their respective prices, and could join Curry and Durant to make this a four-player contest into 2022.
For now, though, it’s all about the former teammates, and even at a much shorter price, Curry has to be the best bet. He’s playing arguably the best basketball of his career. Golden State continues to pass stern tests. The performance at Barclays Center was special even by Curry’s record-breaking standards.
MVP chants for Steph in Brooklyn 🗣 pic.twitter.com/y02qvVCgDX
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 17, 2021
The Warriors have dispelled any speculation that they were an early-season fluke. They are back, and Curry is at his mesmeric best. Tuesday’s win might only count the same as others in the standings, but it was a significant moment in Golden State’s season and Curry’s pursuit of a third MVP.
He’s in a great position to become just the ninth player to lift the Maurice Podoloff Trophy three times.