They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
If that's the case, you can save a lot of time by viewing the Raptors' effective defensive strategy against Steph Curry, rather than reading about it.
See for yourself:
Steph's finals in summary pic.twitter.com/95dfLpzEAy— Kelenna Azubuike (@KelennA7) June 14, 2019
Steph Curry might be 'seeing red' after missing the potential game-winning shot in Game 6 on Thursday night, but then again, he was seeing it all series long.
With Kevin Durant missing all but 10 minutes of the series, the Raptors were able to throw more defensive attention Curry's way. Specifically during the times when Klay Thompson was also off the court, whether due to rest or injury, Toronto could double down.
Early in the series, Curry referred to the Raptors' defensive tactics as "janky", but in the end, it was simply smart. Down Durant and Thompson, Toronto knew the Warriors didn't have enough firepower to overcome the Raptors' team attack if they were able to get the ball out of Curry's hands, which they did, time and again. Trying to dribble out of a triple team is rarely a wise choice, so in making the "smart" play, Curry was frequently playing right into Toronto's strategy, not that he really had any choice.
It was on Curry's teammates to knock down the wide open shots that resulted from that strategy, and simply put, they didn't. Not often enough.
That's not pointing the finger. It's just what happened. The Raptors employed the strategy best suited to defeat the team that was on the court opposite them.
Of course, in missing that potential game-winning shot and being on the losing side of the Finals, blabbermouth pundits are already piling on Curry, arguing he in some way 'choked' without even considering the context within which his performance came.
And, that's just a downright lazy, uninformed and inaccurate argument to begin with.
It's pretty wild to me how Steph Curry averaged 30-6-5 on 60% True Shooting, faced a Box-and-1, and nearly forced a Game 7 with some of the most space-deprived lineups imaginable ... and some of the talk today is "he didn't show up!"
49.2%-34.3%-94.7%— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) June 14, 2019
It's gotta be annoying for Steph Curry to hear people say: "But he shot 6-for-17 in Game 6 of the Finals." He was really 6-for-14 overall and 3-for-8 from deep because he missed a:
-78 footer at end of 1st quarter
-74 footer at end of 2nd quarter
-63 footer at end of 4th quarter— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 14, 2019
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Even if Durant and Thompson re-sign with Golden State, both are expected to miss the majority, if not all of, next season, after suffering major injuries in the last two games of the Finals. That likely means plenty more "janky" defenses headed Curry's direction, and it's on the Warriors to find a way to either beat or deter them.