Stephen Curry does not have the reputation of a “clutch” player. His detractors thus often recall that he succeeded in his first career “buzzer beater” this season, for his 13th campaign, and that he rarely tipped meetings, especially in the playoffs, in the final possessions.
In these playoffs, his stats in the “money-time” (less than five points difference in the last five minutes) do not completely erase this idea, with certainly 41 points scored in 29 minutes (out of 6 games ) at 11/24 in shooting and 16/18 in free throws, but just 3/12 from 3-pointers in these situations, for a total of +8 to the score.
But those numbers only tell part of the story. Last night, for Game 2 against Dallas, Stephen Curry was the Warriors’ main weapon to repel the Mavericks late in the game. Except that there was more than 6 points difference, and that all the baskets of the leader are therefore not categorized as “clutch”…
A rhythm player, more at ease with the tempo of systems than with the weight of insulation, he thus makes the difference upstream, and his figures in these playoffs are very impressive.
In the last 11 quarters he played this postseason (out of 13 games), he scored a total of 104 points. This is the best mark of the playoffs, ahead of Chris Paul’s 103 points. Above all, he won 9 of the 11 games in which he played the final quarter, against 7 wins in 13 games for the Phoenix leader, and he scored his 104 points in 79 minutes. He is thus the best scorer in the last quarter of this campaign, while he only posted the 34th playing time in the final round of matches…
“The Smell of Blood”
A sacred efficiency to allow his team to bend the meetings, especially since he does it at 57% success in shooting (32/56), 44% at 3-points (14/32) and 90% at throws -francs (26/29).
As we say Steve KerrStephen Curry (32 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) “smelled the smell of blood” in the fourth quarter, in order to definitively tip the game in favor of the Warriors.
“It’s the path of the match” explains the leader on the management of the last quarter. “We all know it’s a team game. This ability of everyone to raise their level, and this way the match went. In the second quarter, I tried to get in a few shots to keep us in the game and give us some life. There were 14 points difference. Then we fought to get back to two points. At the end of the third quarter, our defense was incredible. And for the first six minutes (last quarter)JP, Loon, Otto, Klay, they all made shots to give us a good lead which allowed us to use a few minutes (rest) here and there. We came back and we were able to finish the job. »
Moreover, the double MVP ensures that it was above all his teammates who made the difference, during the first six minutes of the final round. When he came back into play, there was indeed a seven-point lead (102-95) for Golden State, which Stephen Curry “no longer” had to manage, therefore.
“We reduced the gap to 14 points (at halftime), and 14 points, for us, it’s more than manageable if we manage to put our mark on the game, starting with the defense. They are limited to 13 points (in 3rd quarter), but it was not a flurry. It’s like we’ve picked up some momentum and slowly, methodically, we’ve gotten them back up until the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, which really changes the momentum. This revived the fans. It revived us and allowed us to come out with the victory. »
The best scorers of these playoffs in the 4th quarter