Stephen Curry and Nikola Jokic were part of history Saturday. It wasn’t the sort that they’ll savor.
The NBA had two 50-point scorers in losing efforts on the same day for only the third time. Jokic scored 50 points in Denver’s loss to Sacramento, and Curry scored 57 points as Golden State fell in Dallas.
“Nikola goes out and does his job,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “He doesn’t care. We lost the game. That’s all he’s going to care about.”
Curry’s 57-point night was the second-most of his career, topped only by his 62-point game against Portland on Jan. 3.
“He’s never played better,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Saturday’s game. “We’re talking about a two-time MVP, three-time champion, and he’s never looked better.”
Before Saturday, the most recent such day of multiple 50-point efforts in losses was Nov. 18, 2019, when Damian Lillard scored 60 in Portland’s loss to Brooklyn and D’Angelo Russell scored 52 in the Warriors’ loss to Minnesota.
The only other time it happened was April 9, 1978 — the final day of that regular season. George Gervin scored 63 for San Antonio against the New Orleans Jazz, and David Thompson scored 73 for Denver against Detroit.
That day also decided the 1977-78 scoring title; Thompson had 73 before the Spurs played that day, and Gervin knew he needed at least 58 to win the season-long crown.
There have been five 50-point efforts in the NBA so far this season, including Curry’s season-high, 62-point in the win over Portland.
Of those 50-point nights, three — including Saturday — have now come in losses. Bradley Beal had 60 on Jan. 6 in Washington’s loss to Philadelphia.
Curry’s 62-pointer against the Blazers was in a win, as was Fred VanVleet’s 54-point effort for Toronto against Orlando on Tuesday.