Stephen Curry is not lighting up the NBA Finals the way many might expect a two-time reigning Most Valuable Player to do, but the Golden State Warriors guard is not letting that disrupt his run at a second consecutive title.
Curry is one of the best shooters in basketball history but has struggled to find consistency during the best-of-seven NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which his Warriors lead 3-2 going into Thursday’s pivotal Game Six.
The three-time All-Star is averaging 22.2 points through five games of the NBA Finals, well below the league-leading 30.1 points per game he averaged during the regular season.
“There’s kind of an historical kind of expectation of the all-time greats in this league that have had great Finals moments,” Curry told reporters on Wednesday.
“None of them played for this team and understood how I try to help my team every single night.”
Curry’s scoring line through the opening three games of the Finals – 11, 18 and 19 points – prompted him to say he had to play “a hundred times better” after Golden State’s embarrassing 30-point Game Three loss that cut their series lead to 2-1.
He responded in style by scoring a game-high 38 points to give his team a commanding 3-1 series lead but then struggled on his home court three nights later with a chance to close out the LeBron James-led Cavaliers.
Curry managed 25 points in the Game Five loss but was a mere 8-for-21 shooting with four turnovers, a performance that will only put more focus on him when the Warriors get a second chance to end the series.
“I was out there doing what I was trying to do to help our team win and it didn’t work,” said Curry. “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 Six. So I’m comfortable with that.”
While Curry has been far from his best, he is able to find comfort in the fact that his team is still in a solid position to repeat as NBA champions.
Curry acknowledged that Thursday’s game is the biggest of his career and said he is ready.
“I want to honestly play better and more consistent, 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,” said Curry.
“So right now it could kind of get lost in that. But at the end of the day if I’m sitting here tomorrow night with another trophy and celebrating with my teammates, we can talk all day.”