CLEVELAND -- Because of his consistent production and extended shooting distance from three-point range, in addition to a quick release, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has the ability to ruin a game anytime he touches the basketball.
But competing against Curry for the third consecutive postseason, the Cavaliers have learned the easiest way to keep down his impact on the game is by limiting shots and making him work for the ones he does lift.
“He’s dangerous, so we just wanted to limit his shots, take the ball out of his hands,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “And we did a good job of that in Game 4. We have to try to do it again in Game 5.
“He’s dangerous no matter what, so, I mean, not really a big difference. When he’s open, he’s going to make shots. And when he’s playing free and you don’t bring a physicality, he’s able to roam and do whatever he wants offensively. He’s one of the most dangerous guys in our league.”
Cleveland Cavaliers face off against Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of 2017 NBA Finals
With the Cavaliers facing elimination in Game 4, they held Curry to just four of 13 from the field and two of nine from three-point range. And the plan to limit Curry as much as possible worked, as the Cavaliers fought their way to a 137-116 victory and a Game 5 matchup tonight at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
“We had the same mindset going into the Game 3, just being aggressive, trying to take the ball out of his hands,” Lue said. “I thought the most important thing is transition defense. I think that holding him to only 14 points, transition was big for us.
“That’s where Steph flies, in transition, because he can shoot the ball from anywhere. So I thought getting back in transition defensively really helped us out. Then, in the half court, we did a good job of just staying physical, staying on his body and trying to trap him when we had the chance.”
With the Cavaliers once again facing elimination tonight at Oracle Arena, the plan remains the same on defense, limit Curry’s effectiveness and force other players to come through at clutch moments of the game.
“Just trying to limit his looks is important for us,” Lue said. “That’s always been our mindset every time we played them in The Finals -- try to limit his touches, limit his shots and make someone else do something.”
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving added, “He does a great job of just affecting the game on both ends of the floor, so you just try to keep a body on him. But also, understanding that he can get hot in a matter of a second, and so can Klay and so can K.D.
“We just have to stay locked in to those guys, making sure that we limit our turnovers and limit our mistakes. It seems like déjà vu being back up here, talking about from 1 and 2, trying to limit our mistakes, but if we do that and we limit some of their easy baskets, we put ourselves in a great position.”