Stephen Curry closing in on NBA 3-point record

Stephen Curry at Chase Center. Photo courtesy Golden State Warriors

Ray Allen fondly remembers when a young Stephen Curry and his little brother, Seth, used to tag along with father Dell and take part in Bucks shootarounds.

"They’d come and we’d go through drills and they’d be right there with us, and they’d hold their own," said Allen, who was a teammate of Dell Curry in Milwaukee at the time and Dell was the best shooter Allen had been around so far as a third-year guard. That was years before Allen would make his own enduring mark as a shooter.

Now, Stephen Curry is that guy for Golden State — and the two-time MVP is on the brink of breaking Allen's career 3-point record. His next chance comes Saturday night at Philadelphia, where the Warriors (21-4) are embarking on a five-game road trip.

Curry needs nine 3-pointers to match Allen's mark of 2,973 regular-season 3s and 10 to top him. Allen accomplished the feat over 18 seasons from 1996-2014. Curry would be doing it in his 13th season.

"His (Allen's) journey was interesting because he was such an athlete, he’d dunk on you, he’d drive, he could shoot the 3 but from what I remember it wasn’t a huge part of his game, because he could do so many other things," Curry said. "As it evolved, he adapted and made it more of a feature."

Curry called Allen’s work ethic "a common theme" for the two shooting stars, recalling how Allen arrived at the arena three hours before games to shoot when nobody was inside to watch. That’s a stark difference from the pregame show Curry puts on for the masses night after night, thousands holding up their phones to shoot video and capture a glimpse of one of the greatest NBA performers ever.

"He had a very specific routine that he stuck to," Curry said. "I learned a lot from that."

At 33, reigning NBA scoring champion Curry continues to let it fly from every spot on the court, recently knocking down half-court shots in consecutive games.

"I work hard to try to put myself in position to have success, and confidence in my game and how I play, and all that goes into it," Curry said. "With that confidence does come creativity and ability to go out and stretch your imagination for what’s possible out there and honestly, I just love what I do. So, there’s always joy that comes with it."

Curry went a quiet 6 of 17 from beyond the arc in Wednesday's 104-94 win against Portland. Some thought he might somehow break the record against the Trail Blazers.

While he would have preferred to become the 3-point leader in front of the raucous home crowd, Curry acknowledged: "It is the weirdest thing to be picky about breaking a record like that. ... I feel like it will be special no matter what because I’ll make it special and it will be an amazing experience for me and my teammates."

Portland coach Chauncey Billups realizes what this record means to the way basketball is played today and going forward.

"The game has changed a ton. Quite frankly, he’s the reason why," Billups said. "He’s one of the most influential players to ever play the game, the way he’s changed the way everybody kind of plays the game."

Curry's teammates can't wait to share in his moment. Allen will also appreciate Curry’s latest accomplishment on a long list of them.

"It's been fascinating to watch. It only seems fitting that this is the path that Steph is on," said Allen, now 46. "People have compared him to myself and Reggie (Miller) and other past shooters. He really operates in a lane of his own."

Even with another looming milestone, Curry has focused on the big picture.

"I’ve said it a million times but he’s got the greatest sort of combination of humility and arrogance I’ve ever seen," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It’s a beautiful, perfect combination for a star athlete. The arrogance of knowing he’s the best player on the floor that makes everybody want to be around him beyond his team. It’s a wonderful combination."