17 in O.T.

In game four of the NBA playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers, something amazing happened in overtime that has never occurred in the 67-year history of the National Basketball Association. Stephen Curry scored 17 points in a 5-minute overtime period. No one has ever scored 17 points in an overtime period.

To put Curry’s scoring outburst into perspective, the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors played an overtime period the same night and the two teams together scored only 15 points. Curry outscored the Heat and Raptors combined.

Stephen Curry is an amazing offensive basketball player. In my lifetime, he is the best offensive player ever. The following facts made his feat even more special. It was a playoff game, he was coming off an injury and hadn’t played in over two weeks and he had a bad shooting night for over three quarters. But when it counted the most, he was “lights out”.

Steph Curry is such a phenomenal basketball player that millions of kids are emulating him. They want to dribble like Steph, shoot like Steph and play like Steph. Even as I am writing this blog, my grandson is dribbling a basketball in the house after I told him that I was writing a blog about his favorite basketball player.

What makes Steph Curry so great? He has incredible hand-eye coordination. He is quick and fast. He must have great vision. He has a high basketball IQ. He has all the physical and mental tools to be the player he has become.

Steph Curry has one more thing going for him in basketball. He has the willingness to practice. He didn’t just get out of bed one morning and become the best offensive player ever. Steph Curry practiced and practiced and practiced.

Even before the game, Curry has a prolonged pre-game routine, which is essentially practice before the game. One article about Curry says this about his pre-game routine.

Another part of Curry's routine is--as basic as it sounds--taking a lot of shots: About 105 or 110 of them, he tells (Tim) Kawakami. He'll practice a wide array of shots: Scoop shots and runners with his right hand and left hand; three-pointers of the catch-and-shoot variety, moving to his right and left; and three pointers of the stop-and-pop variety, also preceded by various movements right and left.

"It's all the shots we see him [taking] in the game," observes Kawakami. "He repeats and repeats and repeats, over and over again." Curry has said that one aim of his shooting practice is visualization: It helps him "just to see the ball going in the net." 

If you want to see Curry’s pre-game routine, here’s the link.

Like the old adage says, “Practice makes perfect” and there are times when Curry shoots perfectly during a game.

The Bible encourages us to practice so that we can become better at being like Jesus. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

So, as followers of Christ, we need to practice dwelling on the things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise. The more we practice these things, the more we become like Jesus who was perfection personified.

Oh, there’s one more thing that sets Stephen Curry apart. It is the most important thing in life. He loves Jesus and Jesus loves him even if he didn’t score a single point in overtime.

Something to think about…