News and notes from around the NBA including Stephen Curry's struggles against Matthew Dellavedova, LeBron James's great and weird stat line, plus another Kevin Durant-Miami note...
* In a game filled with unusual plays and moments, Curry misfiring throughout ranked high on the list of oddities. Curry's single worst shooting performance of the season came Sunday night in the Cavaliers' victory, which evened the NBA Finals 1-1. He finished 5 of 23 (21.7 %) from the field.
Players have off nights, but Curry hasn't looked like his usual, free-flowing self through two games. Cleveland's defensive plan and the assertive Dellavedova, are among the reasons why.
The Cavaliers are sending multiple defenders at Curry, especially up high at the beginning of possessions, forcing the ball from his hands and putting other Warriors into playmaker mode. Klay Thompson (34 points) made them pay. Draymond Green (zero field goals in regulation, four turnovers did not). The plan also led to Curry rushing shots and looking seventh-grade-dance awkward. Dellavedova's gritty defensive approach played a major role.
Stephen Curry: 0-8 from field, 4 turnovers when guarded by Matthew Dellavedova
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 8, 2015
* LeBron James's Game 2 performance surpassed his 44-point effort in the series opener. That's because he was more point guard (11 assists) than chucker for most of the game; attacked the glass (16 rebounds); got to the free throw line (14 of 18) and limited turnovers (3) despite so much responsibility over 50 minutes. Yet James also missed 17 of 21 shots after halftime to finish 11 of 35 overall. Such inefficiency and other suspect moments over the final minutes -- went 0 for 7 FG and 1-2 from the line over final 8:13 -- for a second straight game would have put his late-game efforts in the spotlight with a loss.
* Two quick follow-ups to a Sunday post in this section about why Dwyane Wade's contract talks with the Miami Heat are worth monitoring in regards to Kevin Durant's free agency in 2016:
- Wade, appearing on ABC's NBA Finals coverage Sunday night, briefly addressed his contract status. The all-star guard must decide whether to pick up his player option for $16.125 million next season. Transcription via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel:
“Well, listen, it’s summer time,” Wade said when asked about his contract. “So when summer time and free agency [come together], it’s going to be a lot of talk. And right now, I’m glad that the Finals is going and we’re here. “And we’ll worry about that in July. Right now, we’re going to focus on these Finals.”
Key here is use of July. That's the month when free agency begins. If Wade were opting into his contract, he would do so in June. This could all be nothing more than negotiating. It's hard imagining any team paying Wade $16 million next season - unless the Lakers or Knicks go wild for a big name. There's certainly the possibility of a multi-year offer from another team. Miami likely offers him one, but ideally not until after next season so the franchise can remain financially flexible for free agents like Durant.
- Durant officially closed on the selling of his condo in Miami. Only mentioning this because 1) needed to fill up some space and 2) Many of the responses I received on Twitter Sunday after posting the Wade-Durant link focused on the selling of this property as indication that Durant was out on the Heat. Now, if home purchases were an indication of where players play, the NBA would need to add even more Los Angeles-based teams. No clue why Durant sold the pad, though making a 73 percent return, as the article indicates, is plenty of reason. As mentioned previously, every team in the NBA wants Durant and around half of them will be in position for such a bold addition. That likely includes the Heat. Based on Pat Riley's track record, that' worth noting.