Three Things to Know: COVID news almost overshadows Curry. Almost.

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Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.

1) Stephen Curry passes Ray Allen, sets record for most NBA 3s

Ray Allen was famously obsessive about practicing his shot. His most famous 3-pointer — the stepping back corner 3 off a Chris Bosh pass to force overtime against the Spurs in the 2013 Finals — didn’t come from nowhere. He had practiced that shot. He had practiced all the shots; his form was impeccable.

Stephen Curry’s game looks more improvised, more free-flowing. He’s taking pre-game warmup shots from the tunnel. But don’t be fooled — Curry has the same obsessive streak and has practiced all the shots. Those logo threes come from plenty of reps.

For years it’s been accepted that Curry is the greatest shooter the game has ever seen. Now, the numbers back that up. Tuesday night, with a couple of first-quarter 3s, Curry tied then passed Hall of Famer Allen for the most made 3s in NBA history, 2,974.

Allen was there to celebrate with him. So was Reggie Miller, the other person in the greatest shooter conversation.

Curry and Allen share an obsession with golf — a sport where repetition and practice to perfect your form is the path to success. It appeals to both of their styles. For all the ease of Curry’s game and the joy he plays with, this new record is built on a foundation of countless hours in the gym perfecting his craft.

2) COVID hits the NBA hard

Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the protocols. James Harden and six of his Nets teammates are in the protocols. So many Chicago Bulls are in the protocols the league needed to postpone a couple of their games. Multiple teams have canceled practices, and Tuesday night the Nets played with the league-minimum eight players dressed (and they still won).

The feeling of something close to normalcy the NBA had the first two months of the season has been shattered. Now the NBA has joined the ranks of other sports leagues around the globe — the NFL, NHL, Premier League — in having teams get hit hard by COVID and their season disrupted. As of Wednesday morning, 34 NBA players are in protocols, as tracked by our old friend Tom Haberstroh.

What’s more, league and team officials expect it to get worse before it gets better.

The increase in players testing positive not-so-coincidentally started after the Thanksgiving holiday, when players were gathered indoors for events with family and friends. The NBA anticipated this and started to ramp up testing after the holiday weekend, but that has just exposed the underlying problem — with people indoors more because of winter, and with the omicron virus spreading, cases are on the rise (not just with the NBA or sports leagues, but with society as a whole).

While 97% of NBA players are vaccinated and 60% have had booster shots, according to the league, that alone does not stop the spread of the virus. It does make it far less likely players (or team staff, all of which had to be vaccinated) will suffer severe symptoms or face hospitalization from the disease, but masks and social distancing remain the best paths to stopping the spread altogether.

The NBA may tighten restrictions on players (although that would have to be negotiated with the players’ union and would be a tough sell), but thanks to the high vaccination rates around the league, this outbreak is seen as more manageable than last season, when more than 30 games were postponed.

That said, with the winter holidays coming and the highly-transmissible Ormicron variant spreading, the idea of a sense of normalcy around the NBA is not returning anytime soon.

3) Despite being shorthanded, Kevin Durant‘s triple-double sparks Nets win

Stephen Curry is grabbing the headlines early this season — and he did again on Tuesday night, but Kevin Durant is also playing like an MVP this season.

KD did that Tuesday night as well with a 34-point, 13 rebound, 11 assist triple-double.

The Nets needed every bit of that plus a late Patty Mills 3 and overtime to beat the Raptors. And even with all that, Scottie Barnes came thisclose to winning the game with a last-second desperation heave.

Down to eight players because of COVID — including their two-way players — is a quality win for the Nets. Even without Irving, the Nets have been the best team in the East this season, thanks to Durant.

Highlight of the Night, non-Curry edition: Pascal Siakam put Durant in a poster

Durant and the Nets may have had the last laugh with their overtime win, but Pascal Siakam had the dunk of the night and Durant was in the poster.

Last night’s scores:

Brooklyn 131, Toronto 129 (OT)
Golden State 105, New York 96
Phoenix 111, Portland 107 (OT)
Detroit at Chicago, postponed