Steve Kerr: Warriors changed Finals strategy due to Stephen Curry’s health

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By the time the 2016 NBA Finals began, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was stating at every turn that Stephen Curry was not injured.

About that…

Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

Kerr now concedes that Curry’s condition – he later sustained an ankle injury and an elbow contusion – resulted in a few strategic limitations.

“We made a few adjustments in terms of play-calling and actions that we tried to run,” Kerr told CSNBayArea.comin a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “But there’s only so much of that you can do.

“It’s still about flow and rhythm and pace. We tried a few different things – and let’s not forget, he was phenomenal in a few games.”

Curry had his moments during the Finals, but for an MVP, he fell way short of expectations.

How much of that was injury, and how much was the Cavaliers? We’ll never know the exact breakdown, but both probably contributed.

Cleveland schemed to limit Curry and Klay Thompson, and the Warriors built a 3-1 lead by allowing other players to take advantage. Kyrie Irving is also a tough matchup for Curry defensively, because Irving’s elite ball-handling negates Curry’s top defensive skill, using his quick hands to get steals.

Still, Curry didn’t appear to be moving as well as usual. The Cavs targeted him in pick-and-rolls, exposing him as a liability.

This obviously won’t take away from the Cavaliers’ title. They earned that. (Just as Golden State earned its 2015 championship with Irving and Kevin Love injured.)

But it adds a “what if?” to the discourse – just as Irving’s and Love’s injuries did a year ago.

Obviously, those Cleveland stars were sidelined completely and Curry was at least healthy enough to play. But the 2016 Finals – which came down to the wire in Game 7 – were far closer than the 2015 series. Any small factor could’ve swung the result.