Tag: Stephen Curry

2015 NBA Finals - Game Four

Report: Stephen Curry annoyed by attention, credit Matthew Dellavedova has gotten


OAKLAND — There is always a little-known role player who, thanks to a good matchup and strong play, makes a name for himself at the NBA Finals.

This year it is Matthew Dellavedova of the Cavaliers.

LeBron James has praised him, saying Curry’s struggles were because of Delly’s defense. David Blatt has praised Dellavedova at every turn, as have the ABC broadcasters. Walking around Cleveland he was the second most popular guy on the team still playing (Kyrie Irving might normally occupy that slot). ESPN is running features on him, as is PBT and just about everyone else. Delly is loved.

That has annoyed Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Sources within the Warriors’ organization say they were “pissed off” and “irked” by the media attention Dellavedova was receiving and the narrative of the Australian “locking down” the league’s MVP.

As for Curry, he was annoyed too, I’m told.

“People have lit a fire under Steph, which is good thing,” Andrew Bogut told NEOMG. “It’s something that you don’t want to do. It worked out well. We know Delly is a great defender, but we know he’s not a Curry stopper.”

Curry, of course, is too polished to talk about this publicly, although he did say his run-ins with Delly have featured some trash talk not suitable for younger viewers. It’s also very much like the great NBA players to find something, anything to use as fuel for motivation.

In Game 4, Curry changed how he attacked Dellavedova, attacking off the dribble quickly before the double team came. Combine that with a dead-legged Dellavedova who was not moving as quickly and you ended up with Curry getting past him and more open looks than he had in the first three games.

It will be interesting in Game 5 to see how things go with a more rested Dellavedova.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors preview: Five things to watch in Game 5

2015 NBA Finals - Game Four

OAKLAND — Since 1985 in the NBA Finals, when the series has been tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 went on to win the series seven out of 11 times. That’s 64 percent of the time.

It’s technically not a must win, but if the Cavaliers win LeBron James will have two chances to close out the series, including one on his home court. If the Warriors win at home, well, it would hard to imagine them suddenly losing two in a row.

Following a couple days of rest, Game 5 should be a more true test of these teams. Here are five key areas to watch:

1) You know it’s all about that pace, ’bout that pace. Game 4 was not played as fast as it seemed, but the Warriors improved ball movement — they made the smart passes and hit the shots off them — made the game feel that way. Heading into Game 5, the Warriors will again go small and try to run more at home, the Cavaliers will counter by going big, banging the ball inside and trying to go deep in the clock.

“I think we allowed their (small) lineup to get us out of what we did in Games 1, 2, and 3, and that was control the pace and put the ball into the post,” LeBron James said. “We shot 27 threes. So I would say half of those or even more than half were some good shots, but a few of them we wish we could have back.”

2) Can the Cavaliers hit their open threes and jumpers? Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova, we’re looking at you. In Game 3 LeBron found the open man when the double team came, but nobody could convert. The Cavaliers were 4-of-27 from three and 6-of-29 on uncontested looks. Maybe that was the fatigue of the series and the short bench getting to the legs of the shooters, and they extra day off will change that. Maybe it was just one of those things. Whatever the reason, whatever the fix, the Cavaliers cannot have another shooting night like that and win.

3) Cleveland is going to try and pound the Warriors small lineup. Expect to see more LeBron James in the post. Expect another big game from Timofey Mozgov getting deep position on Draymond Green and scoring. If the Warriors are going to go small, the Cavaliers are not going to match that but rather try to exploit it. Frankly, that’s their only real option.

“We’re going to play our game,” LeBron said. “We’ve gotten to this point by playing the way we play, and we’re not going to change.  We’ll make adjustments throughout the game, but we won’t change our starting lineup.”

4) Did two days off between games refresh a fatigued Cavaliers team? Will Blatt go deeper into his bench? One of the storylines of Game 4 was fatigue — the Cavaliers just looked tired. LeBron stopped driving and settled for fadeaways in the fourth quarter. Dellavedova looked flat-footed trying to stop Stephen Curry (and Curry attacked him early in isolations, before the help could come). With an extra day off between games, will the Cavaliers be fresher for Game 5?

“It certainly helps,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. “Doesn’t guarantee anything.  You’ve still got to come and play.  But it certainly helps.”

The other question for Blatt is will he trust the veterans on his bench more in Game 5? He’s got Shawn Marion and Mike Miller, who are itching to get more run, but Blatt hasn’t trusted them through most of the playoffs. Does the situation and the tired legs from his seven-man rotation change that dynamic?

5) Have the Warriors figured it out? In every other Warriors’ series these playoffs, there has come a point where Golden State made it’s adjustments, figured out what it would take to win, and then never looked back and won relatively comfortably. In this series, they are the deeper, more talented team, and they made their big adjustment.

“Even more so than the lineup change, we competed,” Warriors’ assistant coach Luke Walton said. “I think the first three games, we hadn’t really adjusted to what it takes, and the amount of effort on every possession it takes to win in the NBA Finals. Last game our guys fought and scrapped all game long and I think that’s why Draymond (Green) had a better game, that’s why Andre (Iguodala) had a great game.”

“I think if we played as hard as we were playing the last couple of games, it would have won us probably 67 regular season games, but it would have lost us The Finals 4-1,” Green echoed. “And that’s what we had to change. And we were able to do that (in Game 4). That’s what helped us out a lot. That’s what helped me out.”

The Warriors fully expect to play a better game back home for Game 5. If they do, there may be nothing the Cavaliers can do about it.

Norris Cole let Stephen Curry handle one of his Miami Heat championship rings (PHOTO)

curry ring

Norris Cole has two championship rings, thanks to being fortunate enough to play alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in his first two NBA seasons as a member of the Miami Heat.

Cole, now with the Pelicans, is at the Finals and is handling some media responsibilities for the league. And in a meeting with Stephen Curry on Facebook, Cole handed over one of those rings in order for Curry to give it a hands-on inspection.

This is obviously harmless in the grand scheme of things. But considering that LeBron James is battling Curry in these Finals, it’s worth wondering how he’d feel about a former teammate showing off his jewelry like this, which undoubtedly will provide LeBron’s primary opponent with an unnecessary source of additional motivation.

Golden State and the art of double teaming LeBron James


OAKLAND — For three games, Golden State’s strategy was to make LeBron James work but make him a shooter — try not to let him rack up assists and get his teammates going. LeBron was single covered — by Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and occasionally others — and the other defenders mostly stayed home. This was moderately effective, LeBron wasn’t efficient, but he was putting up enough points to get the Cavaliers two wins.

In Game 4, the Warriors brought the help. They threw some double teams at LeBron.

However, there is an art to doubling LeBron — he is so gifted as a passer and scorer that if you don’t do it smartly he shreds your defense like Peyton Manning with time in the pocket. The Warriors were smart about it, having the doubles come from various areas and odd angles, plus at different times.

You’ve got to be smart about it because you know how smart he is in reading situations and being able to pick you apart with his drives and his court vision,” Stephen Curry said. “But once  definitely, once he’s committed to a move, he maybe puts his head down and tries to go through a guy, you can help in that situation because it’s harder to pass out of that type of offense.

“You don’t want to double when he’s facing up to the basket and can see everybody, because he obviously can make pretty much any pass in the book.  So if you allow him to see everything right in front of him, that’s where he hurts you.  So you want to avoid those situations.”

The other key Curry said was to be decisive — if the man coming to double is slow or hesitant, LeBron will destroy the plan.

The Warriors often took the man guarding Matthew Dellavedova or J.R. Smith — primarily Klay Thompson and Shaun Livingston — and had them double LeBron and pressure him out of his comfort zone. The Cavaliers recognized what is happening, notice on the play below Iman Shumpert comes down and screens Stephen Curry to free up J.R. Smith, who could not hit the shot and make the Warriors pay.

Andre Iguodala has been on the front line guarding LeBron for much of the series and talked about plays like the one above, and how you have to push him out of his comfort zone at just the right time.

“A guy like LeBron who can pass the ball the way he can, you’ve got to see where his eyes are,” Iguodala said. “If he can see the whole floor, it’s tough to double a guy like that.  So it was more surprises.  Klay had a few random double teams that we didn’t even talk about as a scheme, and it worked out for us.  The majority of the time they worked.  But the one or two times we got bit because LeBron could see the floor.

“So it’s just about us being smart and, more importantly, communicating.  Because if I can hear a guy coming on double team, I know where to funnel.  We know how to rotate out of it, and it usually works for us.”

It worked to the tune of holding LeBron to 20 points on 22 shots, plus he had eight assists.

“It’s almost funny when you say a guy had a 20-point game it’s not up to par,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “That’s kind of funny.  But realistically we know that LeBron’s production is critical to us, and for the most part he’s given that and more, much more.”

That defense on LeBron takes a toll on the Warriors defenders as well (which makes Iguodala’s good shooting night in Game 4 even more impressive.

“(LeBron’s physicality) definitely takes your legs out, that’s when your shots come up a little short,” Harrison Barnes said. “That’s why I’ve focused this series to make sure I’ve got a wide base and get the shot up.”

The Warriors are going to bring the double teams again in Game 5 Sunday night at Oracle Arena. The questions are how will the Cavaliers adjust and handle it after watching the film, and will the open Cleveland players knock down their looks?

Stephen Curry’s wife takes little shot at Cavs fans on Instagram

2015 NBA Finals - Game Four

You may be familiar with Stephen Curry’s wife Ayesha Curry, as ABC’s NBA Finals broadcast seems obsessed with showing her and the Curry family 592 times a game. Give or take a few.

After the Warriors’ Game 4 win Thursday, Ayesha took to Instagram and took a little shot at the Cavaliers fans and the ongoing “which arena is louder” debate. (Is this topic even worthy of the word debate?)

If Riley is anything like my daughters, once she is out it really wouldn’t matter how loud the arena got – or how much her sister tried — she was not getting up.

As for which arena is louder (I was asked this on twitter the other day), it’s close but I would say Oracle’s fans are just a little bit louder. However, the Cleveland game-ops crew has the volume cranked up to 11 for all the in-house entertainment, even though the crowd is plenty loud without it.