The 2018 NBA Finals MVP Is Chef Curry’s To Lose

    How do you grade a classic performance? Most folks would say LeBron James 51 point, 8 rebound, 8 assist effort against Golden State in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals is the definition of such.  

    Others will cringe at the 0-4 shooting with two points in a crucial overtime that led to a 124-114 Warriors victory and say it was an unbelievable offensive explosion for four quarters, but he fizzled out when his team needed him the most, while Steph Curry played flawless all-around hoops down the stretch. 

    Yes, JR Smith had a brain freeze and didnt know the score. George Hill put on his Nick Anderson choker chain and fell one converted free throw short of icing the game, but everyone says they are trash anyway. They are just faceless players being carried by a titan who many believe is the most phenomenal hoops talent in history and the star of Thursday nights game. 

    NBA TV on Twitter

    LeBron James reacts to questions regarding JR Smith’s play at the end of regulation. #NBAFinals #GameTime https://t.co/mREngTdbxv

    I beg to differ. The Golden State Warriors were in a dogfight down to the end. Despite being the second biggest favorite in the last 20 NBA seasons, Golden State was preparing for a close Game 1 and an onslaught by King James and thats just what they received. 

    But when you have The Splash Brothers — most notably Splash Brother No. 1 Steph Curry, who also happens to be a two-time MVP — theres not an offensive onslaught in the world that cant be neutralized. 

    We know of Currys third-quarter prowess in these playoffs and how quickly he turns a close game into a Dub Nation route. Hes been banging down backbreaking threes since his first NBA championship in 2015. That season, they gave Andre Iguodala the Finals MVP. 

    In 2017, the Kevin Durant bandwagon was filled to capacity and despite some prolific games by Steph, KD took home finals MVP hardware. 

    In Game 1 we saw the all-around magnificence of Curry as the 6-foot-3 game revolutionizer staked his claim to a Finals MVP early in the series. Its about time for him to get one. 

    Joe Vardon on Twitter

    Stephen Curry knows he’s expected to win an NBA Finals MVP @clevelanddotcom https://t.co/LnUzBjbsgP

    It doesnt get any easier for Steph, but he keeps coming through. Everyone knows his game now and defenses go at him with a different vigor than when he first came on the scene and they dared him to hit shots from the rafters until the league finally decided they needed to guard those 45-foot bombs. 

    With the addition of KD, hes had to scale back his ball dominance of the past and adjust to having another Alpha-baller on his team. In the process, hes expanded his overall game.  

    Via Bleacher Report: 

    But the numbers are still present: 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting, including a 5-of-11 showing from beyond the arc. Six rebounds, including one impressive box out of Kevin Lovethe kind of play that can easily get overlooked but prevented an easy second-chance opportunity close to the hoop. Nine dimes. Perhaps most importantly, just two turnovers, which exemplified the care for the ball he displayed throughout the game, only throwing behind-the-back feeds when they were truly the right decision.”

    LeBron James took more shots, but down the stretch Curry made better plays. 

    Golden State Warriors on Twitter

    @StephenCurry30 out here throwing lasers! #NBAFinals #StrengthInNumbers #NBAonABC https://t.co/kDAVmALVQG

    Over. 

    Golden State Warriors on Twitter

    You knew it was going in! @StephenCurry30 w/ the #SPLASH going into the half. #NBAFinals #StrengthInNumbers #NBAonABC https://t.co/BeOUr9x3DV

    And over again. 

    NBA on Twitter

    Steph Curry… GOT IT! @warriors take 100-94 lead in the 4th on #NBAonABC #DubNation #NBAFinals https://t.co/GuWNmvjHZt

    In the end, Currys performance proved to be more impactful and team-oriented than King James my-way-or-the-highway approach. Basketball can be viewed through many spectrums.  Focusing on a players point total is always the easy way to go, but Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and James Harden have shown us that scoring is just one aspect of a championship puzzle. 

    Skip Bayless on Twitter

    Was LeBron really that great last night? @undisputed. 9:30 AM ET. FS1

    James and Kevin Durant are iconic players who tend to do all of the heavy lifting, but Curry, in a Magic Johnson kind of way, does all of the little things, some so subtle and seamless that we forget to give him his props. This NBA Finals will be Currys turn to win MVP. Hes Golden States Golden Crutch and the most important player on the team. When the chef is cooking, the opposition usually gets burned. Ask LeBron James. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.