Warriors

How Warriors' Steph Curry vanquished his 'stopper' in 2015 NBA Finals

How Warriors' Steph Curry vanquished his 'stopper' in 2015 NBA Finals

For a couple days in June 2015, Matthew Dellavedova’s game was a prominent storyline in the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry made sure it didn’t last.

Dellavedova spent most of that season as a Cavaliers reserve. That changed after the Warriors won Game 1 of The Finals. Cleveland coach David Blatt elevated the second-year guard into the starting lineup for Game 2 with a very specific assignment: Contain Curry, by any means necessary.

The former Saint Mary’s College star responded with 42 minutes of wrestling and grabbing and shoving and bumping Curry, who finished with 19 points, on 5-of-23 shooting from the field, including 2-of-15 from deep.

“Steph Stopper.” That was Delly. The Cavaliers won Game 2 in Oakland and took Game 3 in Cleveland, backing the Warriors into a corner and prompting them to make a significant lineup change of their own.

They replaced 7-foot center Andrew Bogut with 6-foot-7 Andre Iguodala, moving 6-foot-7 Draymond Green to center. They were going small. That was the decisive tactical adjustment that tilted the series toward the Warriors.

Curry, though, had his own move to make. After putting in 22 points as the Warriors rolled to a 21-point victory in Game 4, tying the series at 2-2, it was time to come home for Game 5 -- which NBC Sports Bay Area will re-air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. -- and kill a flawed narrative.

Curry, you see, wasn’t satisfied. He was the league MVP. The Warriors were 39-2 at Oracle Arena and not about to lose and go down 3-2. Dellavedova was in trouble.

Curry carried the team with 37 points, including a dazzling 17-point fourth quarter, to lift the Warriors to a 104-91 victory that gave them a 3-2 series lead.

"Not a lot you can do, honestly,” Blatt said in admiration. “He made some terrific shots."

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With Curry burying, once and forever, the spurious notion of Delly being the “Steph Stopper,” the Cavs went back to Cleveland without legitimate answers to the problems posed by the Warriors’ small lineup in general and by Curry in particular.

To understand the impact Curry had in Game 5, the other four Warriors in the starting lineup -- Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Iguodala and Green -- combined for 50 points on 41 shots.

Curry’s 37 points came on 15-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-13 beyond the arc. No matter how scrappy Dellavedova was, Curry consistently found a way to abuse him. Whether it was nasty crossovers, wicked step-backs or coming off screens, the MVP sent a message that the mere idea of a “Steph Stopper” is pure folly.

"Falling, step-backs off the dribble. I'm OK with that. We're OK with that,” LeBron James said. “You tip your hat to the best shooter in the league."

Curry read the situation and knew it was time for a convincing reply to Dellavedova and the Cavaliers. He knew that even the slightest hint of being neutralized would make the Warriors vulnerable. So, he tortured Delly.

“Those are plays I’ve been making all year,” he said. “And moves I’m confident in.”

The Cavs kept the game tight, taking an 80-79 advantage on a James 3-pointer with 7:47 to play. Curry answered with a triple, giving the Warriors a two-point lead they never relinquished -- mostly because he scored 12 points in the final 3:10.

"We didn't turn it over, we were patient," Thompson said. "And two words: Stephen Curry."

[RELATED: GOAT stuff: Steph, Sabrina hoop while social distancing]

It was Curry driving the Game 5 triumph and pushing the Warriors to the brink of their first championship in 40 years.

The “Steph Stopper” subplot was cute but not built to last. Curry wasn’t having it then, won’t have it now. That much rang loud and clear in Game 5.

Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match'

Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match'

Sunday’s “The Match” featuring Bay Area native Tom Brady, former NFL MVP Peyton Manning and PGA stars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson seemed to be a smashing success for the sport of golf. Not only was $20 million raised for coronavirus relief in the United States, but sports fans were glued to their televisions to watch golf, something the sport forever has struggled with.

Warriors star Steph Curry tweeted during the event that he wanted to participate in the next iteration of the “The Match.” So we asked, who would Warriors fans like to see Steph team up with the next time this event is organized and got some interesting responses.

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John Daly no doubt would be an interesting partner for Curry, but the two aren’t likely to be a match made in heaven. Daly’s partying and off-the-course exploits were infamous during his days on the tour, something Curry never has gotten wrapped up in.

Another commenter mentioned Jordan Spieth, who is a fellow Under Armour athlete with Curry. These two likely have played together numerous times over the years, and Spieth has been known to provide a good sound byte.

[RELATED: Ranking 10 best duos in NBA history, including two Warriors pairs]

Another name to consider would be Justin Thomas, the No. 4 player in the world. Thomas joined the TNT telecast for Sunday’s event and was a great on-course reporter, including this somewhat-NSFW dig at Charles Barkley.

Thomas and Curry together would provide some incredible laughs.

Whoever it is, having Steph mic’d up for an entire 18 holes should make for some magnificent content.

Ex-Warrior Andrew Bogut not retiring yet but won't re-sign with Sydney

Ex-Warrior Andrew Bogut not retiring yet but won't re-sign with Sydney

Back in mid-April, former Warriors center Andrew Bogut said he would make a decision on his basketball future in May.

With a handful of days left in May, Bogut has made a decision.

Sort of.

The 35-year-old Australian tweeted a statement Sunday and said he won't re-sign with the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League right now, or any other professional basketball team for that matter.

Bogut made it clear that it wasn't a "retirement note." He said due to the uncertainty surrounding sports because of the global coronavirus pandemic, it was too difficult to make a decision right now.

He also did mention that he hopes to be back on a basketball in the "near future."

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Bogut last appeared on an NBA court in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals when the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena.

Since then, he had been play with Sydney before the pandemic forced all sports leagues to pause their seasons. Bogut was averaging 8.2 points and 8.8 rebounds in 21.5 minutes over 25 games for Sydney.

For now, Bogut will let his body rest and spend time with his family.

[RELATED: Bogut likes two NBA draft prospects]

If the former No. 1 overall pick decides later not to play another professional basketball game, he leaves the sport with a decorated NBA career: Champion, an All-NBA Third Team selection, and an All-Defensive Second Team selection.