Stephen Curry: ‘I don’t really worry about the shots that I missed’

3 Comments

CLEVELAND — Stephen Curry has had his shoulder wrapped in this series, been questioned about his level of fatigue, even had his choice of footwear shredded on Twitter.

It hasn’t been the easiest time for the MVP.

He could get the most perfect of endings anyway.

Golden State’s point guard – the two-time reigning MVP who had the most prolific 3-point season in league history by a ridiculously wide margin on his way to a scoring title – has had probably more moments of struggle than many expected in these NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still, his Warriors are on the cusp of back-to-back titles and could hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy again with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night.

“Definitely the biggest game,” Curry said. “And I’m ready for it.”

The Warriors can only hope he’s right.

Golden State leads the series 3-2 and can win the title on Cleveland’s home floor for the second straight year – which would probably be plenty sweet for Curry, who was born in nearby Akron, Ohio (as was Cavs’ star LeBron James). He could join a very select club of players who won MVP awards and NBA titles in consecutive seasons, the others on that list being James, Michael Jordan and Bill Russell.

Not bad.

But to get there, Curry and the Warriors still need one more win – and a big night from their best scorer would go a long way toward making that a reality. Even with Draymond Green suspended for Game 5 because of too many flagrant fouls, Golden State still felt it had a chance to close the series out at home on Monday night but succumbed to 41-point barrages from James and Kyrie Irving.

“I don’t want to be a prisoner of the moment and say Game 5 was a direct reflection of who we are as a team and who I am as an individual, as a player, as a leader,” Curry said. “I was out there doing what I was trying to do to help our team win and it didn’t work. So that happens in sports. It happens in our game, and nothing’s going to stop me from coming back and doing what I do to help lead my team in Game 6.”

Curry isn’t exactly looking for a breakout game – he already had a 38-point effort in Game 4, when the Warriors won in Cleveland and grabbed a 3-1 series lead.

But the Cavs have not made this simple.

They’ve held Curry under 50 percent shooting in four of the five games so far, kept him under 20 points in three of them and have essentially forced him into one turnover for every assist (23 assists, 22 turnovers). Everyone knows that the Warriors’ attack is fueled by Curry and Klay Thompson, and Cleveland has frustrated both at times.

“We want to continue to not turn the ball over and stop those guys, Steph and Klay, from just having one of these barrages from the perimeter,” James said. “We also want to try to put pressure on those other guys. Those other guys can beat you as well.”

The Warriors reviewed the Game 5 film on Wednesday morning, and Curry didn’t like a lot of what he saw.

It wasn’t his 8-for-21 shooting, 5 for 14 from 3-point land, that made him cringe. Instead, he noticed tons of slippage in areas where Golden State usually excels, and he knows that if those areas get cleaned up for Game 6, the Warriors could cap a year that already includes an NBA-record 73 regular-season wins with the title they need to make this run truly historic.

“I don’t really worry about the shots that I missed,” Curry said. “Those are ones you live with. … The stuff that kind of bothered me the most is on the offensive end there were certain possessions where we had the right reads and right looks, but passes got deflected because they were a little lazy or we didn’t have a crispness to what we were doing. That was a situation where you felt like you had missed opportunities.”

Game 6 is another opportunity.

He believes he won’t miss this one.

“Yeah, I want to honestly play better and more consistent,” Curry said. “But the situation is right now we’re one game away from winning a second championship, and I personally have 48 minutes to do what I need to do to help my team win.”

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

0 Comments

Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Rob Carr/Getty Images
0 Comments

It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
0 Comments

Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
0 Comments

With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.