Stephen Curry

Kevin Durant: 'Steph Curry is the face of the franchise'

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AP

Kevin Durant: 'Steph Curry is the face of the franchise'

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here

When Kevin Durant signed on to join the Warriors before the 2016-17 season, chatter started up on if he would become of the new face of the franchise. Just ask Durant himself though, and he'll turn right to the two-time MVP. 

“Steph Curry is the face of the franchise, and that helps me out, because I don't have to,” Durant said to GQ Magazine.

In Golden State, Durant can take a step back and do everything as a collective whole with all the Warriors' star power. And that includes being a leader. 

“I don't want to have to be the leader. I'm not a leader," Durant said. "I'm bad at saying, ‘Stand behind me and follow me.’ No. I'm one of those guys that's just like, ‘Let's do this shit together. Let's just work everybody together. I don't mind being on the front line with you, but let's come and do it together.’"

Don't think that means Durant shys away from a leadership role. It's just not in the same way as Curry and Draymond Green, among others, and Durant certainly appreciates he can just be who he is. 

"That's my way of leadership. I'm leading by example.”

Since joining the Warriors, Durant has been named an All-Star and won his first championship and NBA Finals MVP, all while averaging 25 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 rebounds per game.

Gameday: Classic duel of Curry vs Kyrie as Warriors take on Celtics

Gameday: Classic duel of Curry vs Kyrie as Warriors take on Celtics

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here

They’re the hottest teams in the NBA and they own the best records in their respective conferences, and that explains why TD Garden will be white-hot with intensity when the Warriors and Celtics meet on Thursday.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

The Warriors (11-3) have won seven in a row as they begin a four-game road trip on the East Coast. A bruised thigh kept Stephen Curry out of the game against Orlando on Monday night, but practiced Wednesday and is expected to rejoin the lineup.

Though the Celtics (13-2) underwent a roster makeover in the offseason and opened the season by losing their first two games, they have not lost since and will bring a 13-game win streak into the game.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 7.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving: Arguably the two best floor leaders in the NBA today, with Curry leading the championship race 2-1 and the MVP race 2-0. Curry has the benefit of superior scorers, notably Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, to ride with. With Hayward out, Irving absolutely has to get buckets. This is a classic duel, even when they don’t always guard each other, and they’ll spend a lot of time on each other in this game. Beware of the close game, for Irving is a fantastic closer.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (R thigh bruise) will play after missing one game. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Celtics: F Gordon Hayward (L ankle fracture) is listed as out.

GAME OFFICIALS

James Capers (crew chief), Tyler Ford and Pat Fraher.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams have split two games in each of the past two seasons, with each winning on the other’s court. The Warriors have won seven of the last 10 meetings overall, including the last four in Boston. Their last loss at TD Garden was on March 1, 2013.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

IMMOVABLE VS. IRRESISTIBLE: The Warriors lead the league in scoring, 119 points per game, and offensive rating at 116.1. The Celtics allow a league-low 94.5ppg and own a league-best 95.8 defensive rating. Boston’s length (four of the top six players have 7-foot wingspans) and switching ability stifles opposing offenses, which is how it has the league’s best record despite its 26th-best field-goal percentage. Can the Warriors create holes? Don’t be surprised if there’s more pick-and-roll than usual.

THE VERSATILE FOURS: Draymond Green of the Warriors and Al Horford of the Celtics are power forwards who sometimes masquerade as centers. They’re superb defenders, capable of guarding multiple positions. They can score inside and out; Horford is shooting 48.8 percent from deep, Green 38.3. Green will be the primary defender on Horford, but expect Horford to split time defending Green and Durant.

THE BENCH WAR: Warriors reserves are shooting a league-best 54.2 percent, while Boston is firing at a league-worst 35.9 percent. Worse, Boston’s bench is shooting 29.2 percent beyond the arc to 35.7 for the Warriors. Unless the Celtics work some magic with rotations, their second unit is in danger of being scorched by the deeper Warriors.

Report: Steph Curry to become Professor Curry

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USATSI

Report: Steph Curry to become Professor Curry

Chef Curry is more of a nickname than anything with the two-time MVP’s ability to cook defenses. Professor Curry though, that’s about to be a reality. 

Stephen Curry is partnering with MasterClass, an online education platform, to teach basketball fundamentals through videos, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN. The class is already open for pre-enrollment and will go live in early 2018. The cost for Curry’s class is $90 for an individual class and $180 for a year of unlimited access to all classes taught by MasterClass. 

"If I think about where I was when I was 13, if I had access to this type of curriculum, I would have been a much better player faster," Curry said

Curry’s class will be aimed at beginner to intermediate level basketball players. He will stress the proper technique of ball handling, shooting and the overall creation of offense. Curry also says he will go over his workout regimen he uses during the season and the offseason. 

"When the opportunity with MasterClass came about to put a class together where I can show people my unique way of playing this game, it was [a] natural fit. The goal is for everybody to get better and enjoy basketball more. I want them to push and challenge themselves, and hopefully they see the game differently," Curry said.

While the Warriors’ star point guard will teach a multitude of skills, there’s one that you will not get from this class. 

"There is no dunking chapter," Curry joked. "So, if you're looking for that, then this is the wrong place to go."