The Golden State Warriors may have suffered another heartbreaking defeat Tuesday night, losing Game 3 of the NBA Finals 96-91 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they seem to have found one bright spot heading into Game 4 — the reemergence of MVP Stephen Curry.
For the first 11 (regulation) quarters of the series, the Cavs looked like a defensive juggernaut, holding the Warriors to an average of 87 points per four quarters, 23 points below their regular season average. But in the second half of Game 3, Curry thinks he found something and it could be huge moving forward.
“I think I found something when it comes to how I’m going to be able to attack their pick-and-rolls and even certain iso situations,” Curry said post game. “I’ll keep that in the memory bank going into Game 4, and hopefully it has a trickle over effect into the first quarter of the next game.”
After a horrific first half in which he shot 1/6 from the field to finish with just three points, Curry showed off his prolific MVP shooting in the second — draining 9/14 field goals, including six three pointers. The 24 points Curry scored in those last two quarters were actually two points more than what he scored in the previous six, including the extra five minutes of overtime in Game 2.
Curry’s second half barrage featured him making the types of difficult plays we’ve come to expect from the reigning MVP. With less than 30 seconds left in the game, he managed to dribble past three Cavs defenders and drain a three while getting knocked to the floor by Timofey Mozgov to pull the Warriors within one:
Earlier in the quarter, Curry showed off his spectacular ball handling skills and ability to finish at the rim on a beautiful reverse layup:
While the Warriors may have wound up with the loss, thanks to Curry’s resurgence and Golden State’s late run, they also received something else — a newfound sense of “hope” according to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. Beck described the Warriors locker room after the game as “a quiet confidence in the wake of this loss.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr says that confidence has always been there — especially in Curry — and despite back-to-back devastating losses, it’s never left.
“Steph never loses confidence,” Kerr told Beck after the game. “I just thought he lost a little energy and, I don’t know, life. We just need life from everybody. We need emotion from everybody.”
The Warriors will need all the production from Curry they can get in Game 4. While it isn’t an elimination game, it might as well be. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA finals to win the championship.
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