The Dorell Wright vs. LeBron James Show is a sentence I never expected to write. But here we are.
It now has been exactly 10 years since LeBron took his talents to South Beach on his infamous “The Decision” broadcast on ESPN. That brought a dominant four-year run for the Miami Heat, including four straight NBA Finals appearances and two championships. James personally won two of his four MVPs and became a champion for the first time.
That was a much different time for the Warriors, though. Steph Curry was just in his second pro season, and Golden State didn’t make the playoffs until LeBron’s final two seasons in Miami.
The Dubs’ roster featured names like Rodney Carney, Lou Amundson and others who fans might not remember when the Heat’s Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was formed. Which brings us to Jan. 1, 2011. That was the first time Curry squared off against James and the Heat. But it actually wasn’t the first time the Warriors faced the star-studded team.
Golden State played Miami at Oracle Arena on Dec. 10, 2010 and were pounded, 106-84. Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 20 points as Curry missed his first of six straight games with a right ankle injury.
Let’s now look back at New Year’s Day 2011. With Curry finally facing LeBron and the Heat, this box score featured some wild stats.
Warriors’ leading scorers
James and Wade did exactly what you would expect them to do — dominate.
James was three rebounds short of a triple-double, scoring 25 points along with 10 assists and seven rebounds. Wade also added 25 of his own points, dished out eight assists and grabbed six board. Oh, and Bosh, the third member of the Big Three, dropped 20 points and had 11 rebounds.
But it was the Warriors who had the two leading scorers of the game. Ellis tied with James and Wade, scoring 25 points while going 7 for 16 from the field. The hot hand of the night, however, belonged to Wright.
The 6-foot-9 forward was in his first season with the Warriors. He went on to average 16.4 points that year, the highest of his career, but was a star on this night. Wright scored a game-high 30 points and nailed six of his 13 3-pointers.
In the end, it wasn’t enough. James, Wade, Bosh and the rest of the Heat edged out the Warriors 114-107.
[RUNNIN’ PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
Big blown lead
Remember when the Warriors used to come out of halftime and make NBA teams look like they belonged on a JV squad? Well, this game was the exact opposite.
The Warriors came out firing on all cylinders. Wright scored 14 points alone in the first quarter, and 20 in the first half. He outscored LeBron 20-9 through quarters.
Golden State put up 36 points in both the first and second quarter, and led 72-58 at halftime. And then, their 14-point lead came crashing down. The Warriors scored just 12 (!) points in the third quarter, and were outscored 56-35 in the second half.
[RELATED: How playing Vince 1-on-1 as kid helped Steph on NBA path]
Steph’s lack of 3s
Curry averaged 18.6 points per game in his second season with the Warriors. He also averaged a career-low 4.6 3-point attempts per game. On this night, the greatest shooter of all time was a ghost from beyond the arc.
Over just under 36 minutes played, Curry only attempted two 3-pointers. He finally nailed one from deep with only 45 seconds remaining in the loss.
This is how wild the 2010-11 season was, and shows just how much things have changed. Four Warriors — Ellis, Wright, Acie Law and Vladimir Radmanovic — shot as many or more 3s than Curry. On the side, five Heat players — James, Wade, Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and James Jones — attempted as many or more than the man who has changed basketball with his abilities deep on the floor.
More than nine years have passed since that game. A lot, a whole lot, has changed since Steph and the Warriors took their talents, or lack thereof, to South Beach.
Wild stats from Steph Curry’s first game vs. LeBron James’ Heat Big Three originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area