Wade says Steph's off-ball movement made guarding him miserable

Steph Curry and Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade didn't have Steph Curry as his primary defensive assignment until his penultimate season in the NBA.

Just two days before his 36th birthday, Wade -- then with the Cleveland Cavaliers -- guarded Curry in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup with the Warriors. Wade, to safely paraphrase Roger Murtaugh, was too old (and too big) for that stuff.

"Never guarded Steph before, really, like this," Wade recalled Tuesday on TNT's halftime show during the Warriors' game against the Boston Celtics. "I was like, 'Yeah, all I gotta do is get up on his dribble, make him go a certain way, whatever.' But when Steph gave the ball up -- and you guys know Steph, when he run, he got that little head down.

"He would run, put his head down, and he would go through two screens on the other side of the court so fast. If you got big shoulders like me, you're not getting through those. So you gotta be a slender guy to guard Steph, but he's amazing off the ball and that's one thing the highlights don't always show."

Curry scored 23 points (on 8-of-15 shooting and 4-of-8 on 3-pointers) that night, adding eight assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals. While it wasn't the biggest game of his career, Curry's movement clearly left a lasting impression on Wade.

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Wade, who returned to the Miami Heat to finish his career, got some measure of payback before he retired after the 2018-19 season. The three-time NBA champion memorably drained a banked-in, buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the Warriors in his final game against Golden State.


Curry was underneath the basket when Wade stunned the Warriors on Feb. 27, 2019, and the two-time NBA MVP couldn't do much else but smile after Wade's shot.

"It was something special, him making a play like that in his last year in this building," Curry told reporters in Miami at the time. "I'd much rather see him jump on the scorer's table when we're not on the court with him, but those are iconic moments that he's had. Deep down, it was cool to see even though we lost."

Wade could probably say the same about guarding Curry.

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