Steph Curry’s resume speaks for itself. Three-time champion, two-time MVP, eight-time All-Star – the list goes on. But one honor the 34-year-old future Hall of Famer does not yet own is NBA Finals MVP.
He is trying hard to change that.
Through two games of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Steph Curry is averaging 31.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and three steals compared to only two turnovers. Meanwhile, he is shooting 21-of-46 (46%) from the field and 12-for-26 (46%) from three-point range.
In Game 1, Curry went 6-of-8 on three-pointers in the first quarter alone and scored 21 points. It was the most of any player in the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan scored 22 against the Phoenix Suns in 1993. Curry only scored 13 points the rest of the game, however, and the Warriors blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter en route to a 120-108 loss to the Celtics.
In Game 2, Curry especially showed his brilliance in the third quarter. He played all 12 minutes and scored 14 points, but it was his defense that impressed head coach Steve Kerr.
“Steph was breathtaking in that quarter. Not just the shot-making but the defensive effort,” Kerr said in a press conference after the game. “He just doesn’t get enough credit for his level of conditioning, physicality and defense.”
Highlighted here by columnist Dieter Kurtenbach, Curry was posted up by Boston’s Al Horford and Payton Prichard and helped force turnovers on back-to-back possessions.
“People go at him to try to wear him down because they know how important he is to us offensively,” Kerr continued. “It’s pretty dramatic the difference in Steph’s strength and physicality in his body now than from eight years ago when I first got here … The guy’s amazing.”
Should He Have Already Won One?
Steph Curry probably should have already earned NBA Finals MVP during the 2015 series that saw Golden State defeat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. However, forward Andre Iguodala was voted MVP even though Curry had better statistics overall.
The shooting guard averaged 26 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists, compared to the forward’s 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and four assists. James could have been voted MVP even though Cleveland lost; he averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists.
Former Warrior Kevin Durant took home both NBA Finals MVP’s in 2017 and 2018 rather than Curry. But it was deservedly so, as Durant was the leading scorer in each of those Golden State wins over the Cavaliers.