Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has come to the defense of teammate Steph Curry in the lead-up to the NBA finals, scoffing at suggestions regarding the guard’s performances in previous play-off runs.
Curry has been one of the game’s best players for a decade now, but is missing one trophy from his cabinet – a finals MVP award.
You could definitely have made the case that Curry deserved the award during the 2015 series, when the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and the award went to his teammate Andrew Iguodala for ‘stopping’ LeBron James.
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The issue is though, that despite Iguodala receiving praise for his defensive efforts, James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in a losing effort.
Curry averaged 26 points, 6.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game and shot 38.5 per cent from three, and was easily Golden State’s best offensive player.
When Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors in 2017, he received the MVP award in both of their back-to-back finals wins – but Green was quick to defend Curry’s efforts in those years.
“Kevin Durant was absolutely incredible in those final runs,” Green said on The Colin Cowherd Podcast.
“Steph Curry got double-teamed probably seven times the amount that KD did in a given series.
“So when you watch those games and you say, ‘Ah, [Curry’s] numbers could be a little down,’ he’s facing a double team … These are real double teams… These are elite teams throwing elite defenders at guys.
“If you don’t understand basketball, which most people don’t in your space, yeah, you’re going to come out and say he needs to validate that by winning finals MVP.”
Durant responded on Twitter, calling the quote ‘100% false’ – leading to Green responding with a brutal champing.
Durant, for his part, responded again saying: “I appreciate the compliments but I disagree with what u (sic) said about double teams that’s all. I love the show.”
The Warriors will look to win their fourth ring in seven seasons when the NBA finals start tomorrow.
Who is playing in the NBA finals?
The 2022 NBA finals will be contested between the Boston Celtics, who won the Eastern Conference, and the Golden State Warriors, who won the Western Conference.
When do the NBA finals start?
The best-of-seven series begins with game one on Friday June 3 at 11am AEST.
When are the games?
After game one, game two will be at 10am on Monday June 6, game three at 11am on Thursday June 9, and game four at 11am on Saturday June 11.
If the series requires more than four games, game five will be on Tuesday June 14 at 11am, game six on Friday June 17 at 11am and game seven at 11am on Monday June 20.
How can I watch the NBA Finals in Australia?
All the games will be broadcast on ESPN or streamed on Kayo.
Who will win the NBA finals?
The Warriors are favorites at $1.60, with the Celtics $2.40 outsiders.
Who will win NBA finals MVP?
Warriors superstar Steph Curry is the favorite to take home the most valuable player award at $2.10, ahead of Celtics guard Jayson Tatum at $2.70.
Every other player is considerably longer odds; Jaylen Brown of the Celtics is third-favorite at $12, and Curry’s fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson is $16.
Others include Draymond Green at $19, Andrew Wiggins at $26, Jordan Poole at $36 and Marcus Smart at $46.
Boston’s road to the finals
The Celtics have come through an absolute gauntlet in the East, playing the maximum number of games in each of their last two play-off series.
After finishing with 51 wins in the regular season to finish second in the standings, they first overcame the Brooklyn Nets in a clean sweep, sending much-maligned former player Kyrie Irving packing.
But after that, they came from 3-2 down after five games to beat the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks in seven games, winning the decider 109-81.
That set up a match-up with old rivals the Miami Heat, which went the distance as well, Boston prevailing in a thrilling game seven, 100-96.
Golden State’s road to the finals
The Warriors had a comparatively easier time of it, finishing with 53 wins in the west and the third overall seed.
They breezed past the Denver Nuggets in five games, before facing a sterner test against the Memphis Grizzlies, who they overcame in six.
Another lopsided series awaited in the conference finals, again winning in five games – beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in the final game.
Who has home court advantage and why?
Despite Boston finishing as a higher seed in their conference, the Warriors will have home court advantage due to winning more games (53 to 51) during the regular season.
That means that games one and two will be in the San Francisco Bay Area before the series moves to Boston for games three and four.
Game five is back on the west coast, with the teams then alternating home court for games six and seven, if required.
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How did the teams go against each other this year?
The teams played each other twice, with the road team winning on each occasion.
First, the Warriors came to Boston in December and beat the Celtics 111-107, on the back of a 30-point showing from Curry.
Three months later, Boston came west and ran out easy winners, 110-88.
How many championships has each team won?
The Celtics are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most titles in NBA history with 17, their most-recent coming in 2008.
The Warriors have won three rings since 2015, and are equal third all-time for most championships, with six overall.
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