Late in the first half, with Denver up and Golden State staring a potential Game 7 in the face, Warriors coach Mark Jackson pulled Steph Curry aside and said, "There's going to be a point in this game where you're going to take over because you're the best player on the floor." That's not being psychic; that's just knowing Steph Curry.
The third quarter proved to be Curry's time, as it was in Game 4. Over a white-hot seven minutes, Curry hit all four three-pointers he took, pouring in 14 points and adding three assists, two of them unlikely bullets into traffic. Before he started shooting, Golden State was down two. When the seven minutes were up, they had an 11-point lead.
It didn't end easily—a lucky bounce, a questionable call—but the Warriors completed the upset. This is what Curry gives you: the potential, at any time, for a scoring binge long and furious enough to close a gap or put a game away. The Warriors used to have another guy like this, if not quite as beloved or accurate, and fans howled to no end when he was sent packing—but it's clear Monta Ellis had to go if Curry was to bloom.
It was just over a year ago that Ellis was shipped to Milwaukee for a haul that included Andrew Bogut. In a supremely awkward scene a week later, Chris Mullin's jersey-retirement ceremony was overshadowed by the crowd's vicious and constant booing of Joe Lacob. But that trade's not looking too bad now. Ellis was taking away valuable shots from Curry, shots he needs to enter the fugues where he does his damage. (Curry averaged 17.8 FG attempts this year, compared with 14.2 in his last full season with Ellis.) Bogut was a beast last night, putting up 14 points and 21 rebounds in 39 minutes, all season-highs.
I don't know if that's exactly redemption, or if any of this will matter once the young Warriors run into the steady Spurs, but it'll be a series. If Golden State has a healthy Bogut and David Lee, if Jarrett Jack can get shots to fall, if Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green keep playing like rookies who don't know they shouldn't be playing this well, it'll be a series. And if Curry keeps going on Curry-like scoring benders? Good players are capable of swinging games. Steph Curry's capable of swinging series.