Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Warriors-Celtics NBA Finals: Why Stephen Curry’s snapped 3-point streak bodes well for Golden State in Game 6

Entering Game 5 of the 2022 Finals, Stephen Curry made at least one 3-pointer in 132 consecutive postseason games (which, incidentally, is every postseason game in which he’d ever played), and he’d made multiple 3-pointers in 38 straight playoff games. Counting the regular season, Curry had made at least one 3-pointer in 233 consecutive games. Those were all NBA records. 

And they all came to an end on Monday. 

After a historic start to this series, becoming the first player in history to make at least five 3-pointers in four straight Finals games, Curry finished 0-for-9 from 3 in Game 5, and he doesn’t care one bit. The Warriors won the game, 104-94, to take a 3-2 lead in the series. They can close out their fourth championship in the last eight years in Boston on Thursday. 

It wasn’t just Curry who was cold from deep on Monday. The Warriors missed 31 3-pointers as a team (9-for-40), which is tied the record for the second-most misses ever compiled in a Finals win. Boston was more aggressive in defending and doubling Curry above the 3-point line, and in response, the Warriors weren’t as pick-and-roll heavy as they’d been earlier in the series, utilizing Curry a bit more in his typical off-ball fashion, which can make it tough to gets to your preferred shots in preferred spots against Boston’s switching. Curry never found a real rhythm. Most of his misses weren’t close. 

“I think Steph was probably due for a game like this,” Steve Kerr said. “He’s been shooting the ball so well that, at some point, he was going to have a tough night. Boston did a really good job defensively, as we would expect. They are a great defensive team. I thought they put more pressure on him early in pick-and-roll. And Steph missed some open ones, too.

“So it’s always a combination,” Kerr continued. “But even for the best shooter in the world, you know, games like this happen. And, fortunately, they don’t happen too often. I like Steph coming off of a game like this, too. I like his ability to bounce back.”

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Curry agrees.

“Track record says I’ll shoot the ball better next game,” Curry said. “And I’m looking forward to that bounce-back.”

Curry’s right about his bounce-back track record, by the way. Consider this:

Getting even more specific, on Nov. 4, 2016, Curry’s previous record (regular season) of 159 straight games with at least one made 3-pointer came to an end with an 0-for-10 showing against the Lakers. In his next game, three days later, he broke what was, at the time, the single-game record with 13 3-pointers against the Pelicans. This would seem to bode pretty well for Curry and the Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday. 

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