OAKLAND (California) • Two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry promises more aggressive play in this morning's (Singapore time) Game Five of the NBA Finals, after being kept to half his play-off scoring average.
The Golden State sharpshooter went four-of-13 from the floor for only 14 points as the Warriors lost 116-137 at Cleveland in Game Four, even though the Warriors are still ahead 3-1 in the best-of-seven title series.
"When I have the ball in my hands, I've just got to be a little bit more aggressive than I was in Game Four, try to get in the paint, make plays, and not let them try to take me out of it," said Curry.
The addition of Kevin Durant to the Warriors was supposed to eliminate the necessity for Curry to be at his best at all times. But as they lost heavily on Friday, it became apparent that they cannot overcome the Cavs with a sub-par performance from their superstar point guard.
Curry went into Game Four within shouting distance of averaging a triple-double (28.6 points, 9.0 assists and 9.6 rebounds), but one game put back into focus his importance to the Warriors.
It is his mind-bending shooting ability that still causes defences to be on high alert the second he steps over half court, and what has turned Golden State's offence into an unstoppable juggernaut the past three seasons.
He will need to be back to that kind of player again in Game Five, even if the Cavs continue to double-team him to ensure he does not find any rhythm.
Cavs star LeBron James said keeping Curry from a breakout game is imperative for them to have any chance of handing the Warriors their first home loss since March 8, and making the first comeback from a 0-3 deficit in NBA play-off history.
"Our key is to limit certain guys," he said. "You can't take away everything from great players and Steph is one of those players. Just try to make it tough on him."
Much of the work guarding the Warriors' "Splash Brothers" will fall to Cavs guard Kyrie Irving.
"It was definitely a conscious effort on my end to make sure that we limited Steph and Klay (Thompson) to just some tough shots," Irving said. "They're some special players, and they make some unbelievable plays. But you just have keep a body on them as much as possible and try to make their shots a little bit more difficult."
But Durant warned that bringing defensive help against Curry leaves someone else open.
"We got two on the ball, that means that somebody's open," said the Warriors forward. "Steph was doing a good job of taking on that double team and trying to find a pass and we just tried to make plays after that."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON POST
Game 5, Golden State v Cleveland: Singtel TV Ch110, 9am