Cleveland’s contempt for Curry is barely beneath the surface, but Curry’s competitive streak is also less obvious than it should be. You didn’t see the real Curry in The 2016 Finals. In these playoffs, he’s got an insane offensive rating of 122.5, while Kyrie Irving is averaging 24.5 points per game in the playoffs. There will be crossmatches, but Irving and Curry aren’t going to guard each other for 48 minutes. But whoever is the more productive superstar will likely tilt the series in his team’s direction.
The Warriors didn’t score a single point in the final 4 minutes, 39 seconds of the game, and went on to lose the championship after having held a commanding 3-1 series lead. That’s one pass he’d like to have back, but he has promised himself he won’t allow that one low moment in his career to alter his game moving forward. “Yeah, I still think about that [turnover],” Curry told ESPN. “[But] in thinking about that game, it’s funny because I know the concept of making the right play, making a simple play, understanding that there are deciding moments in games and the difference between winning a championship or not could be one of those plays. [With that said,] I came out in preseason this year and threw a behind-the-back pass because I have confidence that I can do it and it won’t change that.”
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But Curry has no regrets on how he defended Irving. “You could tell that’s a shot he’s worked on,” Curry said. “I was right there. Tried not to foul. I stayed in front and contested. He just made an amazing shot. You have to give him credit. There’s nothing I’d do differently on that play.” This season, Curry has placed a heavy emphasis on improving his ball security. During this postseason run, he’s turning the ball over 3.3 times per game, down from 4.2 turnovers per game in last year’s playoffs. Pulling off plays with a high degree of difficulty are Curry’s specialty. But finding the right balance is what he’s striving to perfect.
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“It’s drawing up a play and getting the shot you want,” said Cleveland Cavaliers veteran swingman James Jones. “It may be a play for your star. Everyone knows it’s going to him. But if you draw it up effectively, you force the defense to give that guy the shot. ‘Cause otherwise, they give up higher percentage shots at every clip. So it may be a backdoor lob/rip, to a cross, or maybe a backdoor lob/rip to a pindown and a flare. If they try to take away the backdoor lob, it takes a body off of him, and then the pindown, if you try to take that away, it opens up another guy to a slip or a midrange shot. The flare gives you a wide-open three. So you end up playing percentages, but the percentages means the ball winds up going into your best player’s hands.”
All this time Brown never wanted the money he earned by beating Lue in a shooting contest when the Cavaliers coach was an NBA newcomer, yet Golden State’s acting coach – who spent two stints leading Cleveland – joked how Lue can surely afford it these days. “I’m glad he finally admitted that he owes me money because for many years he wouldn’t admit that he owed me money. He does owe me $100 and since he got his new deal hopefully he can afford to pay me now,” Brown said Saturday post-practice. “I asked him many time for it but he’s denied it. He’s denied that the game ever took place.”