OAKLAND (California) • The National Basketball Association's Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry is feeling the frustration of the Golden State Warriors' collapse to the brink of the biggest choke in NBA Finals history.
The record-setting three-point shooter and NBA scoring champion was fined US$25,000 (S$33,700) on Friday by the league for hurling his mouthguard into the crowd after fouling out of Thursday's 101-115 loss at Cleveland.
"It was obviously frustrating fouling out in the fourth quarter of a clinching game and not being out there with my team-mates," he said. "So it got the best of me, but I'll be all right for next game."
Today's Game 7 at Oakland will decide if Curry and the Warriors retain their crown or become the first players in 70 NBA Finals to squander a 3-1 series lead and let the title slip away.
"Nothing about our play-off run has been perfect," Curry said, citing a 1-3 deficit to Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals. "We were in adversity the last series and had to rattle off three straight wins, so things haven't gone our way despite how the regular season went.
"So, yeah, it's frustrating, but the work we've put in and the opportunity we've given ourselves, you've got to be excited about that."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was also fined US$25,000 for complaining about officiating, defending Curry's contention that referees were wrong about the last calls that resulted in the point guard fouling out for the first time since 2013 and receiving a first-ever ejection.
"I didn't think I fouled," Curry said. "That's just kind of my perception of the plays and I had a reaction to it. I had some stuff I wanted to get off my chest after the way the game went."
Kerr described the foul calls as "ridiculous" and said officials were fooled by flops, adding: "I'm happy he threw his mouthpiece. He should be upset... three of the six fouls were incredibly inappropriate calls for anybody, much less the MVP of the league."
Curry cannot even escape the tensions of the Finals at home.
His wife, Ayesha, tweeted her husband's ejection was part of a plot to "rig" the outcome to force a Game 7 "for money or ratings". She later deleted the tweet, claiming it was a "heat of the moment" missive.
Curry's father-in-law was nearly arrested ahead of Game 6 in what Ayesha called a case of racial profiling. She said he was detained in the mistaken belief that he was a con artist trying to attend the game with phoney credentials.
"I'm okay we lost... I just can't take people coming at my family for absolutely no reason," she tweeted. "Something I don't understand or stand for."