Perhaps the most critical segment of this series came at the end of the third quarter of Game 4, Cleveland cutting the Warriors lead to three. The Q was rocking. The Finals hung in the balance.
Curry calmly called for the ball, shook a defender and drained a three, pushing Golden State to a six-point lead. In a reversal of roles, a gassed LeBron tried to answer with a three of his own at the buzzer, only to miss badly. When James went to the bench to rest at the start of the fourth quarter, the Warriors seized control of the game and the Finals.
Curry finished with 22 that night. He then dropped 37, including 17 in the fourth quarter, in Game 5. On Tuesday, he dropped a couple of massive threes to help stem a fourth-quarter Cleveland surge, then when double-teamed, hit a wide-open Klay Thompson for another.
Not only did Curry average an MVP-like 26 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in 43 minutes per game, but as Kerr told his point guard, sometimes a point guard has to put his own game now in favor of managing the game for his teammates.
That is what Curry relayed when he said in the postgame press conference, "The Finals are not that different from normal NBA games. It's just the spotlight is different, and soar are the expectations. When you have an average game, you find out in the Finals that people were expecting more. But really, that stuff doesn't matter. It's all about winning. That's what I've learned. I just need to impact games, be myself every other night, do other things to help my team win and be OK with that. Manage the game from a point-guard standpoint, find a way to win and that's what we did … At the end of the day, stats really don't matter. It really doesn't matter."
This coming from a man who still had 25 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in 43 minutes from a Game 6 that he was supposedly managing the game for others, downplaying his own role.
This coming from a man who still scored 156 points in a six-game Finals with a .585 true shooting percentage—a scoring total and efficiency only topped by three players in NBA Finals history (who all also did it coincidentally in six-game series): 1992 Michael Jordan, who scored 215 points with a .617 TSP; 2011 Dwyane Wade, who scored 159 points with a .614 TSP; 1987 Magic Johnson, who scored 157 points with a .590 TSP.
They did it with a wizard, Stephen Curry, at point guard. Curry nailed three key threes in Golden State’s 105-97 Game 6 victory in Cleveland Tuesday night, because that’s what he does. In the clincher, however, the regular-season MVP’s passing stood out. He patiently let the Cavs double-team him far from the basket – what choice did the Cavs have against a guy who can sink shots from Cincinnati? – and hit cutters down the lane. Or flipped one-handed passes down low. Or skipped the ball cross-court, or into the corner, to open three-point shooters. Curry had eight assists. Golden State finished with 13 three-pointers.
Most 4th Quarter Points during the Finals
1995 Shaquille O'Neal 11.5
2000 Shaquille O'Neal 11.5 (61.1% TS) 2015 Stephen Curry 10.8 (75.1% TS)
1997 Michael Jordan 10.7 (55.1% TS)
1998 Michael Jordan 10.6 (50.6% TS)
2011 Dirk Nowitzki 10.3 (68.0% TS)
1993 Michael Jordan 10.3
2015 Steph Curry had one of the most clutch performance in NBA history. The only player to score more 4th Quarter Finals points than Steph Curry was Shaquille Oneal, and he didn't even score one point more than Curry while Curry scored 14% more efficiently than Shaquille