Tonight was a tale of two basketball greats basking in the after glow of setting some records straight into the NBA books.
Stephen Curry amassed a season high 402 from downtown – a mere companion piece to Golden State’s 73 wins with their coach Steve Kerr, who played on the Chicago Bulls team they were chasing.
Curry scored 46 points, converting on 10 of 19 from behind the arc, connecting on a flurry of 3 straight – one of which a signature 31 footer.
The reigning MVP and his prolific partners in crime mopped the hardwood floor with Memphis, 124-104, playing catch and release all night long, and they did it without their gap toothed point guard in the 4th quarter.
Meanwhile, 370 miles south of Oakland, the stars aligned literally for Kobe as the likes of Snoop, Jay Z, and Jack sat courtside for the Black Mamba’s last hurrah as a Laker.
Along with a coterie of Kobe haters, ala the new clever Nike commercial that depicts everyone’s disdain for him so well, I opted to watch the Warriors, relying on updates via the crawl on the bottom of my television screen.
When the clock expired, and confetti rained from the Oracle Arena rafters, I switched over to ESPN 2, caught the final 35 seconds at Staples, and witnessed Kobe drain a 20 foot pull-up for a 97-96 lead, then sink 2 free throws for his 60th point – the most for any player in their final game.
It was also pretty cool that with 4.7 seconds left, he chucked the ball across the court to Julius Randle for his one last assist.
For someone who has never been a fan of purple and gold, I must admit that I shed a tear or two when Kobe embraced Russell, and Randle – humbly handing over the torch, walking off into the sunset on a high that Hollywood couldn’t have scripted any better.
Let the playoffs begin.