Curry a popular pick for three-point contest

Curry a popular pick for three-point contest
February 16, 2013, 12:15 pm

In 2010, Stephen Curry scored 18 points in the first round and 17 in the finals, finishing behind Paul Pierce. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

HOUSTON -- Stephen Curry will test his mettle in the three-point contest Saturday night at the Toyota Center, and if you ask around, he's the popular pick to win it.

Teammates David Lee, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes will all be supporting in attendance, and they didn't hesitate to put pressure on their point guard.

"Steph's gonna win it," Thompson said. "He's way too good of a shooter not to win it."

"I'm not too worried about that," Barnes agreed.

Lee predicted Curry as well, but was a little less demonstrative than his young teammates.

If he can replicate his practice round in Oakland, when Curry scored 27 points (money balls included) in exactly one minute, he'll do just fine. The all-time three-point contest record is 25 points in a round, set by Craig Hodges in 1986 and matched by Jason Kapono in 2008.

Curry will face Ryan Anderson and Matt Bonner from the West for a berth in the finals against the East's Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Steve Novak.

Golden State's sharpshooter leads the field in three-point percentage this season (142-for-316, .449) and from a career standpoint (514-for-1,159, .443).

Thompson went so far as to predict Curry would face Novak in the final round, the man second in the field in three-point shooting.

"Steph is a great shooter," Novak said. "I think this Saturday is going to be good all around. There's not one guy that can't win it."

"Hopefully it's me," said first-time competitor Irving when asked who would win. "We've got some stiff competition. I see Stephen Curry and Steve Novak as the biggest threats."

Kevin Durant, who lost last year's three-point contest to Kevin Love in a tiebreaker, was one of several other players to mention Curry's name when asked about Saturday's event.

Interestingly, Sacramento Kings' Isaiah Thomas, who made four three-pointers in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night, said he doesn't care too much for the three-point shootout. But the diminutive point guard is a big fan of the dunk contest, and he sees Terrence Ross taking that one home.

Lee called James White.

Whoever claims the three-point and dunk contests, they will need to bring their A-game. While the actual All-Star Game often features less than max effort, the integrity of the skill competitions remains.

Curry's quest for the West begins at 5 p.m. PT from the Toyota Center in Houston. What's your prediction?