Stephen Curry has been the brightest spot in the NBA Finals this season, despite the Warriors being down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series vs the Boston Celtics. The Celtics faced the Warriors’ superstar with the plan of drop coverage.
For starters, a drop coverage is when the defender guarding the screener “drops” below (closer to the basket) the level of the screen while the on-ball defender fights over the top of the pick to chase the ball-handler. That means the Cs did not send help when Curry is the ball-handler.
That also means Curry has many open threes, despite being the best shooter we have ever seen in the NBA. The Celtics cannot say their plan is not working as the All-Star guard put up great numbers but the rest of the Warriors’ team did not follow.
“You understand personnel,” Curry said. “They have a certain lineup with their length and size that you’re not going to really see many blitzes just because I don’t think it’s physically possible to run around as much as I do and how many screens we can throw at them.”
The Celtics used their size effectively to force turnovers and stopped the Warriors from moving the ball and creating advantages at the back end of the floor. Curry addressed the Warriors’ fourth quarter struggles in the same question about the drop coverage strategy against him.
“We started the fourth quarter first couple possessions with turnovers and we kind of got sped up a little bit. Then they were pretty smart in terms of who they were trying to come off of and clog driving lanes and send extra bodies and attention that honestly those patterns really don’t make sense, but they were just super aggressive across the board.”
The Warriors’ superstar is averaging 31.3 points, 3.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds shooting 48 percent from the field and 48 percent from beyond the arc in addition to an 83 percent from the charity stripe in the series vs Boston.
However, the Celtics seem to prioritize clogging the paint and preventing the Warriors from going inside and finding easy baskets. More importantly, the Celtics are attacking the Warriors in the fourth quarter, with Curry being at his worst during that stint of the game so far.
“We got something for that, and obviously, if we take care of the ball and settle in, it can set a totally different tone for the fourth quarter. Then, obviously, offense and defense are connected. You have to get stops in order to maintain momentum down the stretch,” Curry said.