Jason Whitlock thinks Steph Curry ‘could be the person that costs them this series’
Jim Jackson, Chris Broussard and Jason McIntyre join Jason Whitlock to discuss Stephen Curry's struggles in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
– Steph Curry is the weak link of Golden State's big four. He's the weak link. They're going at him on the defensive end, his shot is off. I don't believe he's 100% healthy. He could be the person that cost them this series.
– Well, let's forget the narrative by health, because he was fine in the Pelican Series. So it wasn't any issue about that. I think the issue is, though, with a guard like step, you can be more physical with him. You take the Cavs and what they did a couple of years ago when they won. Iman Shepherd, JR Smith, they were physical not only when he had the ball, but when he didn't have the ball.
And that's the key when you play defense with a guy like Steph. You can't allow him to get separation. Right now he's not getting any separation when he comes off the screens or when he's out on the perimeter. Defensively, yeah, he's a weak link. But keep in mind, individual defense is based on team defense.
If your team defense doesn't provide help, then as an individual, I don't care who you are, you're going to get burned. So they're going to have place special attention, more so, to kind of inch in a little bit more to help Steph. But Steph hasn't played well percentage wise when he's gotten to the finals, because unlike Durant, he's like a king on the chessboard. You can move him around in different spots and he's effective. Steph, as a guard small, you can't do that.
I think two issues he's having. I'm glad you brought up the health, because we got to stop giving him the health excuse. Because when he plays great, if he is 30 next game, nobody's going to say health. So I think he's fine health wise. I think them going at him, essentially, almost every time down the court is wearing him down a little bit energy wise. So that affects him offensively, but to me, the biggest concern I have when I'm watching the Warriors, especially last night, they are becoming too Kevin Durant centric.
To me, they played last night like they played in the game Steph was injured. Kevin Durant's bringing the ball up, he's going more iso, you don't see that free flowing fluid offense that we've come to love from them and helped make Steph the two-time MVP. So I think even if Steph or Klay doesn't have it going, I think you stick with your freeflow in offense. And don't get tempted to say, “All right, KD, you just do it.”
– Go do it, KD.
– They're not special that way.
– Kevin Moody.
– They can win with Durant being the main guy because he's great and they got other great players, but they're not special that way. They're special when they run the freefall and offense.
– I love the overreaction to Steph Curry having a bad game, which he had, he had a bad game, but in game one they went at him 20 times. In game two, 23. We know the strategies. You said, wear him down on the defensive end. And on the offensive end, he's not getting any open looks. But I just want to caution people about this and the health situation.
He missed 30 games. When he came back against the Pelicans, he guarded Rajon Rondo, who is not a shooter. He was not setting screens for Holiday, they were not attacking Corey on the offensive end. Here in this series, James Harden, that is the strategy. It has worked a little bit, but we've got to remember the Warriors are still in total control this series. What luck.
With Kevin Durant, they are 15-0 at home in the playoffs the last two years with an average margin victory of 15 points per game. Whether Steph Curry is 75%, 90%, 50%, they're in control of the series. Let's not over blow.
– In control of the series. Let me ask all of you this and we'll start with you, McIntyre. If he continues to struggle, do you think they can win this series?
– Again, I did not think he played poorly in game one, 18 and eight. I mean, why aren't we talking about Klay Thompson last night? He was five of 16.
– Don't dodge. If he continues to struggle, he struggled the last game, if he continues to struggle, can they win this series?
– Yes, the role players on Houston are not hitting 12 of 18 threes in game three and four. That's just not happening.
– Yes! Oh, without a doubt. You've got three guys here that can go get it.
– Can, but the gap is the last one. They could also get beat. If Steph's himself, they can't get beat.
– Man, let me tell you something.
– If he's not himself, they could get beat.
– I mean, I just don't trust Mike.
– Oh, oh! Here we go!
– On the defensive end. I told you, defense, defense. I'm not saying the dumbest, I said on the defensive end.
– They defended well last night.
– Well, it was easy, because they was playing one and one.
– And it was their backs against the wall. They had to win.
– Plus they didn't allow, their offense was their best defense. They didn't allow Golden State to get out and transition. They were under double digits.
– If Steph Curry struggles, they're not winning this series.
– Why not?
– Oh, they could win.
– They could!
– They could also get beat.
– They're not going to if he continues to struggle.
– They could do it.
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