Golden State has won three titles in four years because they win the games they’re not supposed to win.
Steph Curry stays catching flack about coming up short in NBA Finals. That’s the new narrative that guys like Max Kellerman are pushing about Steph. Deep down, we know Steph hears all of the negative chatter intended to demean his legacy. All of the yapping didn’t stop the two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion from playing a vital role in Golden State tying up the series with Toronto at 1-1 on Sunday night.
The game was just another much-needed reminder that championship hoops is a team game. The click-driven narrative of putting everything on one guy is often obliterated in the playoffs. It took a team effort for Golden State to get this series tied up. The Warriors had everything working against them, and Toronto couldn’t capitalize.
Klay Thompson went down in the second half with an injury.
Steph was about 80 percent of himself during the game as it appeared that he was dehydrated. Despite the setbacks, he made no excuses after the game and gutted out 23 points during the contest. In fact, he scored 20-points in a game for the ninth straight game.
With the Splash Brothers compromised, DeMarcus Cousins introduced himself to championship ball by almost messing around and getting a triple-double. He had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists and played courageously and clutch in this ball game.
“He was special,” Steph said of DeMarcus’ performance.
It was good to see DeMarcus come through, but more than anyone, this win helped Curry’s playoff legacy. Sure, Draymond Green was masterful in his multiple duties, but how can you not be inspired by a superstar who was obviously ill and still managed to impact the game with his passing, grit and clutch play.
Steph didn’t make a field goal in the first quarter. He started heating up a bit in the second and just kept plugging away.
After Game 1 people questioned whether or not Golden State had the toughness to get down with this blue-collar Toronto squad. Game 1 hero Pascal Siakam was a non-factor and Andre Iguodala — who appeared hobbled and defeated in the opening game — proved to be a “this generation’s Robert Horry” as Chauncey Billups described him on TV. Already an NBA Finals MVP, Iguodala regained his stroke at the right time.
Iguodala looked physically decimated in Game 1. In Game 2, with 5.9 seconds left in the game Iguodala freed himself up for a dagger 3 and he put Golden State up 109-104 for the win.
Golden State ran off one of those classic 18-0 runs and contrary to Game 1 when Toronto hit all of the clutch shots, this game played truer to each player’s abilities. No career games by Siakam or VanVleet and a manageable 34 points from Leonard.
Golden State proved that the heart of a champion is taken for granted until you see it in live time with your own eyes. Stop disrespecting Steph Curry because he’s the guy that does whatever it takes to win. Despite being a legend and, arguably, the most influential NBA player in the last decade, he’s still a team player. He’s a bulldog. There’s a reason why he’s the most popular player in the sport over the last half-decade.
He not only plays sick, but he was still talking greasy, telling reporters that it was disrespectful for Toronto to leave a proven playoff marksman like Iguodala open for a chump-change three.
If the storylines tomorrow don’t include the MVP fortitude of Curry and how despite the absence of Klay Thompson, Curry and Draymond kept the ship afloat and won a game that they never should have won, then turn the dial or flip the station. They’re not keeping it a buck at all.