There is zero doubt that Stephen Curry is by far the best player in the 2022 NBA Finals. He’s averaging 34 points shooting 50 percent from the field and 49 percent from three.
The Boston Celtics haven’t stopped the Golden State Warriors superstar in any of the four finals games, his lowest scoring output is the 29 points he had in Game 2. But are the Celtics actually trying to stop Curry? According to Ime Udoka, it’s actually the opposite.
“Continue to make [Curry] work on [defense] and trust what we are doing on defense, which is allowing him to get some looks, get some looks off, but kind of containing everybody else,” Udoka said.
From the surface, it sounds insane. Allowing the individual that shoots the basketball better than anyone who has ever walked the planet to constantly catch fire simply feels wrong.
Defensively speaking, the strategy has certainly worked for Udoka. Klay Thompson shot 46 percent from the field in the postseason heading into the Finals. That percentage is 36 in the four games against Boston. Jordan Poole averaged 18.4 points in the playoffs before the Finals. He’s averaging 12.5 points through the first four games.
Draymond Green is cold in the Finals. Ice cold. The Celtics are holding him to 4.3 points on 30 percent shooting from the field and zero percent from three. He averaged 8.7 points on 54 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from three in the postseason prior to the Finals. He wasn’t lighting up opponents before, but Boston found a way to make something that was already bad even worse.
Not a single player other than Curry is doing better in this series than they were in the previous three.
“If we are playing the right way on the other end — the defense has been fine,” Udoka said. “They are scoring around 107. Scored 100 in a game. And when we’ve scored well, we’ve scored 121, 116…So our balance has to be better on offense.”
What Curry has done this Finals is nothing short of phenomenal. He’s cemented himself as one of the greats in basketball. But the Celtics offensive woes emphasize Curry’s excellence.
In wins Boston averages 118 points in the Finals. In losses, it’s averaging 92.5 points. In wins the Warriors average 107 points. In losses they average 104. The Celtics are okay with allowing Golden State to 105.5 points on average. Their offense is the problem.
Like it or not, Curry won’t slow down in this series, and that’s exactly how Udoka seemed to plan it.
Game 5 tips off at 9 p.m. in Golden State and can be watched on ABC. Listen to the game at 98.5 the Sports Hub radio where Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell’s coverage begins at 8:30.
More from 985The SportsHub.com