OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Joe Smith made a blind, backward, over-the-head free throw that Stephen Curry couldn’t match. Then, the Angels relief pitcher stymied the reigning NBA MVP on a left-handed 3-pointer and had suddenly beaten arguably the world’s best basketball player at a good-natured game of PIG.
“That was fun. I loved it,” a giddy Smith said afterward. “I’m not that bad. I ain’t that good either. Sometimes a little bit of luck, a lot bit of luck.”
Whether Curry brought his absolute best stuff to the post-practice contest, we’ll never know. It sure made Smith’s day to walk away a winner from the defending champion Golden State Warriors’ practice. Smith, infielder Cliff Pennington and sluggers Albert Pujols and Mike Trout attended practice Tuesday before their night game against the Oakland Athletics some 10 minutes down the freeway at the Coliseum.
And what a day to be there, with Golden State (72-9) trying to beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ all-time wins record in Wednesday night’s regular-season finale against Memphis at Oracle Arena.
Smith took his win in stride. He received handshakes and hugs from Curry.
“Well, you don’t go into something expecting you’re going to lose, that ain’t how you become a professional athlete,” cracked Smith. “Everything you do you want to win. But that was pretty cool. Like I told him, we positioned everybody the right way. I just got lucky, I was in front of him and there were four guys. All of his tough shots, everybody else missed. We knew somebody had to beat him. We couldn’t walk out of here without a win, you know? That’s not making ESPN.”
Oh, and Trout topped Draymond Green in a separate game:
Curry got a kick out of having the Angels in the house.
“I’ve watched Albert Pujols for years and never met him before so that’s pretty cool and obviously Mike Trout and the rest of the teammates, talented guys in their trade, so it’s pretty cool that they’d come out and watch us practice and get to chop it up for a little bit.”
But, he did say all this before losing to Smith.