Steph Curry entered tonight’s game at the Wells Fargo Center needing just 10 3-pointers to claim the NBA’s all-time record.
Curry is on the cusp of breaking Ray Allen’s 3-point record (2,973) and tonight in Philadelphia against his brother Seth, all eyes were on the two-time MVP to light things up from beyond the arc.
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However, Matisse Thybulle had other ideas.
The Aussie wing took on the assignment to stop Curry and closed down every inch of space, holding him to just 18 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the field and 3-of-14 from the 3-point line.
From the jump, Thybulle had him struggling to get any space as he used his length and athleticism to blow up pick-and-rolls and interrupt passing lanes, smothering the Warriors star on the perimeter with a steely determination to not have the record broken on his watch, in front of his home fans.
“It was no secret that he’s going for this record right now, Jo [Embiid] and I talked today during shootaround and he said we’re not letting it happen in our house, so I took it upon myself to make sure it didn’t,” Thybulle said postgame.
Thybulle held Curry to just 1-of 6 shooting in the first quarter and early in the second, he stamped his authority on the contest, blocking Curry’s 3-point attempt on the left wing, recovering the ball for a 76ers possession in the same motion.
Thybulle’s tenacity on the defensive end caught him in foul trouble, picking up his third with 2:26 to go in the second quarter. It’s no surprise Curry seized the opportunity without Thybulle on the floor to reel off eight quick points to close the period.
Once the third quarter resumed, it was much of the same from Thybulle. How many players are blocking not one, but two 3-point attempts from Curry? As Kirk Goldsberry noted, Thybulle is the first player ever to do so in the same game.
Thybulle picked up his fourth early in the third quarter but played on throughout the second half, not letting the fifth foul slow him down on the defensive end.
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“I’ve been on this since he got here, I think he has a chance to be the Defensive Player of the Year, so he showed that tonight,” Embiid said of Thybulle’s defensive effort.
“The way he guarded Steph, I haven’t seen it in a long time, so there you go, that’s the guy.”
The 102-93 loss for the Warriors is just their fifth of the season, with their 93 points their lowest score of the season and the first time they’ve been held under 100 points in 2021-22 — further testament to the resilient defensive effort from the 76ers, who ended the game on a 41-20 run.
Embiid led the 76ers with 26 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals as they improve to 15-12 on the season and 5-3 since he returned to the lineup.
Meanwhile, for Curry, history will have to wait as he needs just seven more made 3-pointers to pass Allen, with their next game against the Indiana Pacers on Monday, December 13 (ET).
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