Last night, the Golden State Warriors cut the series lead 3-2 defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-111 at home, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
The Warriors are looking to become the 10th team in NBA playoff history to come back from a 3-1 deficit. Golden State will travel to play in OKC in game 6. If they win, they’re back home at Oracle.
During the post game press conference, the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were asked if they thought Curry was an underrated defender after finishing the game with five steals.
Durant was quoted saying, “He’s pretty good, but he doesn’t guard the other best point guards. I think they do a good job of putting a couple of guys on Russell from [Klay] Thompson to [Andre] Iguodala, and Steph, they throw him in there sometimes. He moves his feet pretty well. He’s good with his hands. But you know, I like our matchup with Russ guarding him.”
What Durant said are all fair statements, but it came across as he isn’t that good. Meanwhile, Westbrook is sitting next to him laughing at the question, which isn’t the first time he has discredited Curry.
Prior to the series, Westbrook said of Curry, “He’s a shooter. He’s not nothing I haven’t seen.”
First of all, everyone knows Curry isn’t exactly known for setting the world on fire with defense.
I love that Curry responded saying he plays his role and does what the team needs him to do.
Most nights, he’s following around shooters majority of the time and clogging the pass lanes, hence the reason he led the league in steals and why he’s averaging nearly three per game in this series.
People get so wrapped up in 1v1 matches, but forget that basketball is in fact a TEAM sport. If Curry is a better off ball defender, use it to your advantage. Why waste the energy guarding the point? That doesn’t make him any less of a player.
I would much rather have my superstar doing something, ANYTHING on defense than being aloof like that douche James Harden.
Second, apparently Westbrook has seen someone knock down 400 three pointers in a season. Curry is the best shooter to ever touch a basketball, period. No Russ, you have not seen anything like him.
So far in this series, Curry may not be playing his best basketball, but he is still putting up some solid numbers. He is averaging 25 points per game, shooting 42% from the floor and 37% from long range. Pair that long with the five assists and five boards, not too shabby.
Ironically in all of this, Russell Westbrook has been at his worst when Curry guards him. Now before everyone loses their heads, it is a TINY sample size. So far this series, Westbrook is 8-25 with Curry on him, shooting a mere 32% from the floor.
I am all for the trash talk. Ask anyone in my inner circle (because I am obviously exclusive, I have a blog duh), I like to banter back and forth with my friends or when I do anything that involves winning or losing.
I will always be a big supporter of trash talk because it makes sports more fun. It paints pictures of heroes and villains giving people someone to root for or root against.
However, blindly running your mouth and scoffing at other great players, stop it. Give credit where credit is due.
You’re talking about a guy who played a major role in achieving a 73 win campaign. You’re talking about a guy who is playing a major role in the Warriors quest for a repeat. You’re talking about a guy who keeps setting a new record every year for three pointers.
This is all coming from a team who has been so close to winning multiple times, but could never finish the job.
In keeping with the theme of giving credit where it is due, the Thunder thus far have been giving the Warriors fits. One of the things I love about OKC is that they are playing physical basketball.
They are running through the screens, putting their hands all over the Warriors and just making GS uncomfortable. That’s a Billy Donovan team for you. Quite frankly, it is the first time I have seen Golden State truly uncomfortable in what seems like an eternity.
Kudos to the Thunder, but I am still pulling against them and even harder than I was before.
In game 5, the Warriors looked comfortable. Maybe it was because they were back home which Curry alluded to, but maybe another reason.
Last year we saw Golden State go small with Draymond Green at Center. Last night, center Andrew Bogut played over 30 minutes and shined while on the court. He finished the game with 15 points, 14 rebounds (four offensive), two assists, two blocks and two steals.
The most interesting stat is the Thunder had 21 shot attempts and only managed 12 points with Bogut on the floor.
Maybe Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr will pull the trigger again this year and switch to using a bigger lineup with Bogut, Festus Ezili and Marreese Speights rotating at the center, which allows Draymond Green to focus on playing the four and not getting banged around in the post as much.
I know this will sort of break the Warriors identity as a team, but they should slow it down. When you watch some of these games, things seem to start going in the wrong direction quickly when the game is moving fast. Both teams hustling up and down the court does not benefit the Warriors at all. OKC is too fast, too long and entirely too athletic. Steal some possessions from them and let them make the inevitable turnovers.
Just two days ago, everyone was ready to write off the Warriors completely. Hindsight is 20/20 though.
Now I just hope that Golden State can steal Game 6 in OKC Saturday night and force a game 7.
If Golden State does eventually go on to win this series, I will gladly sit on my couch watching the finals while the Thunder are on their respective couches watching and frowning because they fell short…again.