What a series this has been thus far. ESPN radio show host Robin Lundberg actually surmised that planet Earth is now a better place because of these NBA Finals. For the first time in the league’s history, the first two games of the Finals have gone to overtime and in a bizarre way, both teams can actually say with conviction that they could very well be up 2-0.
Well for Golden State, one of the reasons they fell in Game 2 on Sunday night is their regular season MVP Stephen Curry. As great as he’s been for the Warriors, spearheading their attack that has them just three wins shy of their first championship parade since 1975, he certainly hasn’t looked himself since the freakish play in the Western Conference Finals, where he leaped over Trevor Ariza and landed on his head.
Curry can’t be crucified too heavily because he was the one who fueled their comeback in the fourth quarter. It was his game-tying layup that sent the game to overtime. We witnessed Steph split a pick-and-roll with his outstanding ball handling and penetrate into the lane, finishing with his right hand. On the play, he actually took his eye off the basket while driving just to examine the defense, which was impressive.
But what can’t be glossed over is the game in its totality that saw the MVP struggle to the tune of 5-of-23 from the field, including 2-for-15 from downtown, which set the record for the most missed threes ever in a single NBA Finals game.
Now let’s take a look back at the last three possessions of this game. Of course it‘ll be egregious to blame Curry for this, but the Warriors actually had a chance to win this game at the free throw line. After Draymond Green had a sensational block on LeBron James, Andre Iguodala made a valiant effort trying to save the ball for Golden State. The ball was thrown through the legs of Curry, which will warrant the “What if?” thought.
Down by one with the game on the line, Steph takes an ill advised long two-pointer contested by Matthew Dellavedova. James, who was fouled with 4.4 seconds left in the game, corralled the air ball out of the hands of Curry. He could’ve gotten an easier look going to the basket..
The shot selection was obviously poor because of the degree of difficulty and how much a low-percentage shot it was. He wasn’t shooting the ball efficiently all game, so that it behooved him to drive and at least take a chance getting fouled or finding an open teammate by virtue of a double team.
But it also wasn’t a wise decision because he drove right next to his teammate Klay Thompson, which allowed for Iman Shumpert to make his presence also felt on that shot.
Then on the Warriors’ final possession, Curry drove the length of the court looking to get his team a shot attempt at worst, and turned the ball over, courtesy of Shumpert. After looking at the replay, Iguodala was WIDE open, but Curry just didn’t see him. Instead, he tried to get it to Thompson but the Cavs were all over it and the game was everything, but over.
In order for Golden State to win this series, their MVP is going to have to get going. With the series now tied at 1-1, it ultimately becomes a best-of-five series with the Cavs having home court.
It was a missed opportunity for the Warriors because teams with the MVP and a 2-0 series lead are 75-1 according to ESPN Stats & Info. But they do have a chance to take control of this series again tonight.
In Game 2, the “star” was Dellavedova when his heroics delivered a gut punch to the Warriors’ chance to take a commanding lead. I’m expecting them to come out and play much better. Steph Curry should have a huge night. He owes it to his team.