SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – As the Boston Celtics search for answers in an effort to stop Stephen Curry in these NBA Finals, they know even their best defense won’t always be good enough.
“Steph Curry is pretty good, if you haven’t noticed. He can shoot the ball unbelievably,” Boston guard Jaylen Brown said Sunday. “Even watching him, playing against him, and even in the Finals , I have the impression that it goes up a notch a little. He had a hell of a performance in Game 4, and we have to react to that.
Whether the Celtics can do a better job containing the two-time MVP will be a major key as the best-of-seven series resumes at Chase Center on Monday night with the teams tied 2-2.
Coach Ime Udoka is calling on the Celtics to mix things up and be more physical on the heels of Curry’s 43-point masterpiece in Friday’s 107-97 Warriors win at Boston.
Udoka will give his guards some leeway to decide exactly where to start pressing the Golden State superstar — often starting well beyond the 3-point arc, with the big men standing ready to help.
Curry went 14 for 26 with seven 3-pointers and also grabbed 10 rebounds. Once he finds a rhythm, he can punch from anywhere, even with a defender’s hand in his face. But Udoka realizes how quickly the career 3-point leader can become an equally dangerous playmaker.
“Obviously, the range extends a bit on the floor. Some of the shots he hits are just shots he can hit and have been highly contested,” Udoka said. “He hit a few.”
Curry, 34, recorded the second-best performance of his career in the finals – just behind the 47 points he racked up in Game 3 of 2019 against eventual champion Toronto – and joined Michael Jordan and LeBron James in as long as only players aged 34 or older with at least 40 points in a Finals match.
So was watching Friday’s game movie session nearly as fun for Curry as what he did during?
“Whether you play well individually or not, you always know what happens at the end. It’s like watching the end of a movie. It’s always nice to know that the movie ends well at the end,” he said.
“But I think it’s more of a balance between looking at what worked and trying to understand those patterns so you can repeat that for the next game. Maybe anticipating some adjustments that might happen. Try to slow down and try to get a head start on that. In the meantime, I’m also watching a lot of different reactions in the crowd and on the bench and stuff like that too. It’s always good entertainment.