NBA: Stephen Curry has a History of Delivering in Must-Win Games in Lakers vs Warriors

Stephen Curry has a History of Delivering in Must-Win Games in Lakers vs Warriors

The Boston Celtics looked like a better club than the Warriors through three games of last year’s Finals. They lead the series 2-1 following a “feel out” triumph in Game 1 and a strong performance in Game 3, with Golden State’s pivotal Game 2 victory wedged between. 

This Lakers series has been nearly identical. The Lakers won Game 1, which the Warriors looked to control for much of. The Warriors easily win Game 2 before the Lakers return and dominate Game 3. 

So we’re back in a must-win Game 4 for the Warriors. Stephen Curry scored 43 points in Game 4 against Boston to grab the soul of a Celtics club that had, thanks to that stolen home-court advantage. Boston never won another game. 

Can Curry and the Warriors Overcome Adversity to Defeat the Lakers on Monday Night?

Can Stephen Curry and the Warriors replicate this feat against the Lakers on Monday night? They had better. They’re not going to come back from a 3-1 disadvantage. Anthony Davis creates too many matchup problems to anticipate three straight wins with their backs to the wall, even if two are at home. 

Even in this postseason, the Warriors aren’t in uncharted terrain. They were behind the Kings 2-0 in the first round and faced a must-win Game 3 without Draymond Green. They were rolling. I’m here to tell you that while the Kings seemed and felt like the stronger team for much of the series, the Warriors pedigreed their way to a Game 7, when Steve Kerr played the Curry card. 

Kerr’s Dilemma: Finding the Right Strategy to Unleash Curry Against the Lakers in Game 4

Kerr had to play the same Stephen Curry card against the Lakers earlier in the season, resorting to an almost all pick-and-roll strategy in Game 2. It was successful. But the Lakers adjusted in Game 3, and now Kerr must respond in Game 4 to provide Curry the space and matchups he requires.

I proposed starting Jordan Poole. As I say that, I cringe. But Davis must be forced back onto Draymond and into Stephen Curry’s actions. Kerr’s next move needs to be the correct one. It is familiar ground, but it doesn’t make it any less terrifying against a bigger, more muscular Lakers club led by Davis, who represents the Warriors’ most significant matchup challenge in these playoffs. On one end, he keeps the Warriors out of the paint, while on the other, he is too large for Green and too speedy for Kevon Looney. 

The Warriors’ Key to Overcoming the Lakers’ Defensive Challenges

However, the Lakers do not have someone who can legitimately guard Stephen Curry. It’s all about placing him in a position to use his advantages. If Kerr cannot figure it out, Curry will be forced to do so on the fly. He did it in the Finals last year. He did it to Sacramento. He’s done it several times throughout his postseason career. He’ll have to do it again on Monday, not as a scorer, but as the dominant force on the floor if the Warriors are to square the series and shift the momentum back in their favor. 

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