SAN FRANCISCO • Arguably the greatest shooter in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Stephen Curry had a wry smile as he reflected on the worst shooting performance of his career.
Barely a week after dropping a career-best 62 points against the Portland Trail Blazers, the All-Star had a nightmare game on Sunday.
Curry made his first and last attempts, but otherwise missed a personal record of 14 straight shots on an 11-point night for the Golden State Warriors as they hosted the Toronto Raptors.
His 2-for-16 outing was the worst career display in a game when he had a minimum of five attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The Warriors were, however, kept in the game by their other players, with six of them, including a game-high 17 points from Andrew Wiggins, getting into double figures.
Damion Lee, who is Curry's brother-in-law, calmly dropped in two free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining to seal a 106-105 victory over the Raptors and bring his tally up to 13 points off the bench.
Asked to explain his scoring woes, the two-time Most Valuable Player admitted he could not put a finger on it after recording 30 or more points in three out of his last four contests but praised his teammates for stepping up.
"Well, I never thought I'd go 2-of-16," Curry said.
"So I never even thought about that."
Nonetheless, Golden State won for the fourth time in their last five games and with a 6-4 start, they are fifth in the Western Conference and doing better than pre-season predictions.
2 for 16
Stephen Curry's field goals made in Golden State's win over Toronto, the worst by a Warriors player who took at least 15 attempts in a game over the last 20 seasons.
After finishing as the worst team in the NBA last season and losing All-Star Klay Thompson for the term in November, many felt the Warriors would again struggle for the second straight year.
While they are still a team in transition, Curry believes a play-off spot is more than manageable and their improvement - after adding James Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in November's draft, and acquiring Kelly Oubre Jr and Kent Bazemore in the close season - is justifying that belief.
"It means obviously we're moving in the right direction," he said.
"My offence, I expect it to be there every night...
"In terms of us just having confidence across the board no matter who's out there on the floor, I think where we're at right now in terms of guys stepping up, us staying within ourselves, finding different ways to execute on that end of the floor.
"But we don't win a game like this... without our defence taking strides in the right direction."
His coach Steve Kerr agreed that even though the Warriors are not the same dynasty that reached five straight NBA Finals until 2019 and winning three championship titles, they are putting last season behind them.
"I think we have enough talent, enough weapons to overcome a bad shooting performance," he said.
"So we're absolutely heading in a good direction."
Separately, Houston Rockets fans in China were able to watch them play for the first time in 15 months after a former team official's tweet in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters in 2019 led to their games being blacked out.
Tencent, which has exclusive Internet streaming rights for the NBA in China, broadcast the Rockets' 120-102 defeat by champions Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, with viewers in China catching the action yesterday morning.