“The easy shots have become hard,” for the greatest shooter that the NBA has ever seen. Such was the analysis of an article published by ESPN shortly before Game 7.
Basketball experts and fans can agree about one thing: Over the Finals, Steph Curry wasn’t playing the way he (or his fans) had become accustomed to. As far as why, the answer is pretty clear: he is hurt.
Following Game 6, the the numbers spoke for themselves, the result of having strained his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and getting an ankle injury during Round One of the playoffs. Suddenly, he wasn’t as sharp as he was on the court before, resulting in observable limitations in his lateral movement.
Where Curry once ranked first in the league in efficiency, this was no longer the case as the Finals wore on. The analysis showed that he only made 23 out of 61 wide-open 3-pointers, with an effective field goal percentage of 56.9 percent. Although it is apparent that he has been also struggling with regular and 3-point layups, Curry himself was quoted as being confident.
“I’m a low-key perfectionist when it comes to shooting. So it doesn’t matter if it’s training camp in September or in the Finals, I’m mad when I miss an open shot. And my approach to the next play is the exact same; I have the exact same amount of confidence,” Curry said. “Four out of the six games I’ve played pretty well to my expectations, my standards. So I need to take it up another notch for Game 7. And that’s what the greats do.”
Following Game 7, the former MVP clarified that he needed to recover: “There isn’t any surgery or anything in my future this summer. I need to get healthier, but there is no excuses for what happened on the floor,” Curry said. “I was out there, ready to play. I had some good games, I had some bad games. And that’s it. I’ll come back stronger next season and be ready to go.”