The history of the Toronto Raptors is littered with weird statistical oddities, hilarious short-term player success stories, and moments and people who stick forever in your memory even though they have no business being there. It’s a beautiful, random part of sports fandom that may hold especially true for a franchise with a moribund history like the Raptors.
Donyell Marshall is the intersection of strange eras and teams and players and games, his March 13, 2005, performance standing as perhaps the apex of Weird Raptors history (with all respect to Ben Uzoh’s triple-double). It was on that date that Marshall tied Kobe Bryant’s two-year-old NBA record by hitting 12 3-point shots in a single game.
Donyell Marshall, he of a 35-percent career mark on threes and a 41.6-percent mark that season, rained hell-fire from beyond the arc over just 28 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers. He went 12-of-19 from long-range, finishing with 38 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block in what has to be one of the most jam-packed per-minute box score lines in team history (it’s a team record for points in fewer than 30 minutes). It was remarkable, unexpected, and bizarre – Marshall would never again score 30 points or hit more than seven threes in a game despite playing four more seasons. He’d ultimately play 131 games as a Raptor, averaging 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds and ranking 10th on the team’s leaderboard in triples made.
The Raptors would win 128-110 opposite another key figure in the Raptors’ mythos (John Salmons), with Chris Bosh and Morris Peterson chipping in with respective lines of 25-10-5 and 20-8-8. Milt Palacio, Pape Sow, and Loren Woods all played, too, while Rafer Alston started at the point and Rafael Araujo played 17 minutes. And Drake calls this a time to be alive.
We highlight all of this today because Marshall’s record was seriously threatened on Wednesday.
It’s only existed this long because Steph Curry has allowed it to, and Curry nearly (rightfully) claimed it as his domain. Curry’s going to eventually have every other 3-point shooting record, and Marshall’s shared mark looms permanently as a victim-in-waiting. It’s just going to take a game the Golden State Warriors actually needed Curry to go off in, like his 11-triple, 54-point performance against the New York Knicks in 2013, or his 10-three outing from a year ago Thursday when the Warriors pulled away from the Dallas Mavericks late. That, or, you know, Curry just deciding, well, f*** it, it’s mine now.
Those two possibilities nearly merged Wednesday, with Curry dropping 51 points in a 134-121 victory against the Washington Wizards.
Curry came out a house afire, scoring 25 first-quarter points on 9-of-10 shooting with seven (!!) threes on eight attempts. By half, he had 36 points with eight triples, the Wizards having done just enough to hang around (74-60) to necessitate Curry trying in the second half. Two more came in a “quiet” eight-point third. Things stayed close enough late that Curry checked back in around his customary seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter…only to hit just a single three down the stretch, instead opting to attack the rim in order to close out the win.
He finished 11-of-16 from outside. He’s shooting 45.8 percent on threes this year and 44.3 percent for his career. He’s already just 54 triples from matching his own single-season NBA record and it’s Feb. 3. He’s 26th in all-time 3-point field goals…he’s 27 and has played 463 games. He’s going to re-write the shooter’s record book as he redefines how basketball is played.
It’s only a matter of time before Marshall’s record belongs to Curry. For at least one more night, Marshall remains a randomly relevant part of NBA history and a marquee piece of Raptors lore.
What a tremendous shooting display by @StephenCurry30 I can breathe another day. But it's only a matter of time before he breaks 3pt record
— Donyell Marshall (@Dmarsh42) February 4, 2016