Why Steph Curry's Playoff Struggles With Warriors Are Way Overblown

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 5, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Steph Curry had a very bad Game 3 against the Rockets in Golden State's second-round playoff series on Saturday night.

He scored 17 points and went 7-for-23 from the field. He made just two of his nine 3-point attempts and missed a bunch of layups.

On Monday morning, the takes were flying.

"You should be concerned," Fox Sports' Nick Wright said on the show First Things First. "Now it doesn't mean he can't pop for 30 plus. I understand that. He's always dangerous.

"(But) one of the greatest players we've ever seen now has has a five-year trend of not playing up to his averages in the postseason. This is not an outlier event.

"This is one of the reasons that guys his size typically have not dominated the NBA ... he is unable to do all of the things that make him great. When the game gets more physical in the playoffs -- when there is more clutching allowed, when there is more grabbing allowed, when there is a little more contact allowed -- not shockingly, the smallest great player we have all of a sudden struggles if he's not lighting it up from three.

"That is what we have seen year after year. As great as Steph is -- and I've been the President of 'Steph is the best and most important Warrior bandwagon' -- we have overwhelming evidence that in the playoffs he is more prone to a night like this than any great player that I can remember."

Let's start by saying that there is some truth in these comments. The playoffs are a different animal when it comes to physicality and the two-time NBA MVP has had some really rough playoff performances.

Now, let's take a deep dive into the numbers and provide some context:


In the regular season, Curry averaged 23.8 points and 7.7 assists during the regular season while shooting 48.7 percent overall and 44.3 percent from deep.

In the playoffs, Curry averaged 28.3 points and 6.7 assists while shooting 45.6 percent overall and 42.2 percent from deep.

Curry struggled mightily in the Warriors' Game 2 NBA Finals loss to the Cavs -- 19 points, 5-for-23 overall, 2-for-15 from 3-point territory, five assists.

In the other five games, he averaged 27.4 points and 6.6 assists on 49.5 percent overall and 46 percent from distance.

Also, if you go back and rewatch those Finals games you will see that Cleveland repeatedly trapped and blitzed and double teamed Curry and it opened up wide open shots for his teammates.


Curry averaged 30.1 points and 6.7 assists, shooting 50.4 percent overall and 45.4 percent from 3-point range. He made 402 3s and became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history.

In Game 1 of the Warriors' first-round playoff series, Curry torched the Rockets for 24 points. Unfortunately, he tweaked his ankle and missed the second half, plus Games 2 and 3. He then sustained a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee in Game 4 and missed the next four games.

He returned for Game 4 against the Blazers in the second round, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter and an NBA-record 17 points in overtime ("I'm here, I'm back" game).

After racking up 29 points and 11 assists in Game 5 to close out the Portland series, Curry was up and down over the first four games of the Western Conference Finals against OKC.

But in Games 5 through 7 -- with the Dubs on the brink of elimination -- he averaged 32.7 points, 7.7 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals, while shooting 47 percent overall and from beyond the arc.

Curry delivered 38 points in Golden State's Game 4 NBA Finals win in Cleveland, but things went south thereafter.

Although he scored 30 points in Game 6, Curry fouled out (and threw his mouthpiece) and the Dubs lost by 14. In Game 7, he went 6-for-19 from the field, had a costly turnover late, was defending Kyrie Irving on the game-winning triple and then couldn't shake Kevin Love.

Curry (and his knee) ran out of gas at the worst time.


Curry averaged 25.3 points and 6.6 assists during the regular season, on 46.8 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from distance.

In the playoffs, those numbers increased to 28.1 points and 6.7 assists, on 48.4 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from distance.

Excuse us, Mr. Wright, what were you saying about Curry "not playing up to his averages" again?


Curry averaged 26.4 points and 6.1 assists during the regular season. He shot 49.5 percent overall and 42.3 percent from beyond the arc.

He sustained a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee in late March and didn't make his playoff debut until Game 2 of Golden State's second-round playoff series against New Orleans.

All he did that night was score 28 points on 15 shots in 27 minutes.

In the Western Conference Finals against Houston, Curry scored 18 points in Game 1 and 16 points in Game 2. After scoring just nine points in the first half of Game 3, he erupted for 18 points in the third and reminded people of something:

He averaged 26.5 points and 6.0 assists on 45.5 percent shooting the rest of the series.

In Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cavs, he registered 29 points and nine assists. In Game 2, he made an NBA Finals single-game record nine 3-pointers.

Curry had a stinker in Game 3 -- 11 points on 3-for-16 from the field -- but he did score seven points in the final three minutes to help lift the Warriors to the win.

He then scored 37 points in Game 4. Not bad.


Curry averaged 27.3 points and 5.2 assists during the regular season, while shooting 47.2 percent overall and 43.7 percent from distance.

In Game 1 of the Warriors' first-round playoff series, he destroyed the Clippers -- 38 points (11-for-16 overall), 15 rebounds, seven assists.

The next morning, Wright said the following on his show:

"Steph Curry is 100 percent underrated. What he does to defenses and the way he can dominate a possession that he never touches the basketball with his movement and with the attention and the utter fear he puts into people...

"You can't tell the story of basketball without in the first couple of paragraphs talking about the greatest shooter who ever lived who helped create one of the greatest dynasties of modern NBA history. That's who Steph Curry is."


How quickly things can change.

Curry is prone to bad playoff games. But so is a guy like James Harden. Here are a few:
-Game 5, 2015 West Finals against the Warriors = 14 points (2-for-11 FG), 12 turnovers
-Game 6, 2017 West Semifinals against the Spurs = 10 points (2-for-11 FG), six turnovers
-Game 2, 2018 first round against the Wolves = 12 points (2-for-18 FG)
-Game 5, 2018 West Finals against the Warriors = 19 points (5-for-21 FG, 0-for-11 3s), six turnovers (the Rockets still won)

[RELATEDCompany trolls Curry by tricking people with discount link]

Yes, Curry has struggled in this current series against Houston and got into foul trouble way too much against the Clippers, but let's make sure we keep things in perspective when we discuss his playoff career.

The defense rests its case.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us