OAKLAND – As soon as the final horn sounded in Denver and the Trail Blazers knew they were heading to the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, the real life ‘Splash Brothers’ instantly become one of the biggest storylines of the West Finals.
On Thursday night, younger brother Seth Curry not only stole the ball from his older brother Stephen, at times he also stole the show.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts went deep into his bench and it worked out well for a great majority of Game 2. Despite Portland holding a 15-point lead at the break, it all came down to the final seconds of the fourth quarter. The Warriors were able to get stops down the stretch and defeat the Blazers 114-111.
There was a lot to be encouraged by though after seeing the changes Portland made from Tuesday to Thursday.
Portland played more aggressive on both ends and Seth Curry was a key piece on the defensive end.
Who knows Steph more than Seth?
Maybe their father, Dell?
One thing is for certain: Seth is always up for the challenge of guarding his MVP brother, and after Seth’s performance in Game 2 he was pretty happy with his individual game.
“It felt good, it felt like I changed the game and put in more energy. I just made him work harder to get shots. I mean he is going to put numbers up, he is going to play well to try and change the momentum,” Seth said.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr mentioned postgame that both Seth and Rodney Hood were key pieces off the bench for Portland. Kerr also said he thought about the Curry family during the game.
“I thought of their parents at one point,” Kerr said. “Can you imagine watching your two boys go head-to-head in a playoff game and both of them hitting huge shots? It must have been an amazing night for Dell [Curry] and Sonya [Curry] and Sydel [Curry]. It's an incredible story to have two boys in the NBA, but particularly in the Conference Finals, playing head-to-head and knocking down all these big shots. That must be fun.”
In the loss, Seth tied his NBA playoff career-high with 16 points.
He also came up with timely steals and clutch three-pointers down the stretch. Seth finished with four steals and went 4-of-7 from deep.
Trail Blazer All-Star Damian Lillard recorded a team-high 23 points in the loss. Lillard feels that there is a little extra motivation for Seth when he’s going up against his brother.
“I mean, they're brothers,” Lillard said. “You know, for me having my own older brother, I know what it's like to go against your brother and what it means. You know, they both know there's going to be conversations about this at some point when this series is over and they're going to play like it.”
Coach Stotts isn’t sold on the idea though that Seth is more aggressive and gets pumped up more to play against his older brother.
“I'm sure that has something to do with it, but I think he's a basketball player who competes, you know, and we're in the Western Conference Finals and he wants to do well,” Stotts said. “He had a terrific game at one point before they went on the run, his plus/minus was like a plus 24. So he had a very good game. I'm sure having his brother out there has something to do with it, but I think it goes beyond that.”
Meyers Leonard, who played extended minutes in Game 2, described Seth’s night as “incredible.”
“Obviously, he’s very close with his brother. He’s been around this [Warriors] team at times… He watches more basketball than anybody I’ve ever met,” Leonard said with a smile.
Leonard, Curry, and Hood were bright spots off the bench for Portland in Game 2, but it’s apparently Seth who watches the most basketball of anyone on the team.
“Before our games, he’s always just watching his film or another NBA game,” Leonard said.
“I’m serious, the guy is always watching basketball and he’s always watching his brother or if he’s not playing, he’s watching a different game,” Leonard said. “If nobody is playing he’s watching his game film. The guy is very dialed and calculated when it comes to understanding the game of basketball.”
Leonard contributed on the offensive end down the stretch of Game 2 with seven points in the final quarter. The Blazers backup center also believes that Seth knows more about his brother and his game, and more about the Warriors as a team.
“He knows [the Warriors] well,” Leonard said. “Seth being able to stay in front of guys and pick their pocket… His awareness of what they want [to do] is, I would say, at another level… Not only that, but he’s a big shot maker and he was really effective tonight.”
Curry led the Blazers’ bench in points and in plus/minus with a plus-13. He also played the most minutes of anyone on the second unit with 29 minutes.
He may watch the most basketball of anyone on the Blazers squad and that was confirmed after Seth said he has seen every single one of Steph’s games since Steph entered the league in 2009.
“I don’t back down from anything. I feel comfortable matching up with him. I’ve seen every Warriors game in the past ten years, I’ve seen every Steph game. He’s not the only one that I feel like I know some things about,” Curry said.
Seth and the Blazers were all about making the Warriors uncomfortable in Game 2.
In fact, Steph said Seth was “a pest” to play against on Thursday, while Seth said it was all about creating havoc.
Seth noted the differences from Game 1 to 2, saying, “we wanted to put pressure on their bigs, and I was trying to work hard on the defensive end to create havoc. They felt a little comfortable in the first game. I don’t think they were threatened by us at all in Game 1 and we changed that in Game 2.”
Now it’s about the Blazers, along with the Moda Center crowd, making the reigning champs even more uncomfortable on Saturday night in Portland.