With NBA Finals tied at 2, Celtics try to stop Stephen Curry – Metro US

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As the Boston Celtics search for answers to stop Stephen Curry in these NBA Finals, they know that even their best defense won’t always be good enough.

“Steph Curry is pretty good, in case you haven’t noticed. He’s an incredible shot of the ball,” Boston guard Jaylen Brown said on Sunday. “Even watching it, playing against it and even in the final I feel like he’s doing a little bit better. He did a damn good job in Game 4 and we have to respond to that.”

Whether the Celtics can better contain the two-time MVP will be a major key if the best-of-seven streak continues with a 2-2 draw at the Chase Center Monday night.

Coach Ime Udoka is urging the Celtics to shake things up and get more physical after Curry’s 43-point masterpiece in the Warriors’ 107-97 win in Boston on Friday.

Udoka gives his guards some leeway in deciding where exactly to start pressuring the Golden State superstar – often starting well past the 3-point arc, with the big men remaining ready to help.

Curry went 14 for 26 with seven 3-pointers and also grabbed 10 rebounds. Once he gets a rhythm, he can strike from anywhere, even with a defender’s hand to his face. But Udoka realizes that the 3-point leader of his career can quickly become an equally dangerous playmaker.

“Obviously the range extends the ground a bit. Some of the shots he hits are just shots he can hit that were hard fought,” Udoka said. “He hit a few of them.”

Curry, 34, recorded the second-best scoring performance of his career in the final stages – only second to the 47 points he scored in Game 3 of 2019 against eventual champions Toronto – and joined Michael Jordan and LeBron James in a player-only finish 34 years with at least 40 points in a final game.

So, did Curry enjoy watching the Friday game film session almost as much as what he did during it?

“Whether you play well individually or not, you always know what will happen in the end. It’s like watching the end of a movie. It’s always nice to know that the movie ends up being great,” he said.

“But I think it’s more about observing what worked and trying to understand those patterns so you can replicate that for the next game. Maybe expect some adjustments that might happen. Try to slow it down and try to be one step ahead of it. In the meantime also a lot of different reactions in the crowd and on the bench and so on. It’s always good entertainment.”

REFRESH KLAY

Klay Thompson posted on social media that he jumped into the bay for an open water swim on Saturday.

He wrote: “The ocean heals mind, body and soul.”

Curry’s Splash Brother scored 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting in Game 4. Thompson’s 35.8% shooting is the lowest of any NBA Finals he’s played, and he’s only making 34.2% from deep — less than 58.5% with 3s in the 2019 final.

Monday marks the third time he was injured in that finals, during the Warriors’ decisive Game 6 loss to Toronto, which clinched the Raptors’ first title at Oracle Arena. Thompson tore the ACL in his left knee, which required surgery, beginning an absence of more than 2 1/2 years. During this stretch, he also tore his right Achilles tendon and needed repairs.

CURRY’S KICKS

When told he was 3-0 in his purple game sneakers, Curry could only laugh and hope he wasn’t jinxed now.

And no, he didn’t track that obscure statistic.

“I didn’t even know that, so I appreciate you,” Curry said. “I don’t know if that messes with the juju in there now that I know the record. I have many different colors so we’ll see. Lets see what happens. Got me thinking now too.”

INJURY REPORT

Celtics center Robert Williams III is still battling left knee pain. He underwent surgery in March to repair a cartilage tear before returning for Game 3 of the first round against Brooklyn. The Celtics continue to watch him, although Udoka said the 6-foot-9 tall man was better on Sunday.

Boston couldn’t find a specific moment in the film that showed when Williams might have aggravated the tender knee again.

“He’s doing better, the day off, the rest, equal to today and tomorrow, optimistic that he’ll be ready to go,” said Udoka. “But we will test it as usual before the game.”


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