Have the Raptors Solved Stephen Curry or Is He Just Overloaded?
Conflicting takes on the superstar’s postseason performance
The Toronto Raptors are one victory away from winning their first ever NBA Championship. It’s a fantastic narrative if it all comes together: there’s something deeply compelling about a team who’s never won at a victory at that level achieving greatness. But this year’s NBA Finals have also included another compelling narrative involving greatness — this one focusing more on a player than a team.
Namely, what’s happening with Steph Curry?
Curry’s been at the heart of the Warriors teams that have won the last three NBA Championships. But this year, despite being overwhelming favorites, his team is one loss away from elimination. How does Curry’s performance in the Finals factor into this? Two writers have very different takes on his performance over the last few games.
At The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor argues that the Raptors have successfully neutralized Curry as a serious threat on the court. For O’Connor, these games have been a study in defensive dominance on the part of Toronto. The statistics he cites are convincing:
Toronto is holding the Warriors to only 106.6 points per 100 possessions when their franchise player, Curry, is on the floor in the Finals, their worst mark in a series since they blew a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers in 2016 (106.4).
O’Connor goes on to describe the Raptors’ methods of preparing for Curry: a detailed and intensive approach to taking on one of the game’s best players. And O’Connor holds out abundant praise for Jordan Loyd, who plays for the Raptors’ G League team Toronto 905 and has been effectively playing the role of Curry in practice squad games.
At USA Today, Charles Curtis has a very different perspective on the finals so far. Curtis cites a number of statistics pointing out that Curry has put up solid numbers even when dealing with Toronto’s defensive acumen. In particular, Curtis points to Curry’s work in Game 3: “47 of 109 total Warriors points, a whopping 43 percent of Golden State’s total.” Even if his team isn’t victorious, Curtis argues, Curry is still playing supremely well.
Both sides in this debate will have much more to ponder come Monday night, when the possibly decisive Game 5 takes place.
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