Steph Curry’s Warriors led LeBron James’ Cavaliers 3-1 seven years ago. Can Curry change the script?
Few things inspire like the delicious taste of vengeance.
And Steph Curry, who led the Golden State Warriors to a Game 5 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, now has a chance for some serious payback.
With a 121-106 victory against the Lakers, the reigning champs cut their second-round playoff series deficit to 3-2. If you win in Los Angeles on Friday, you’ll have a shot for a special type of comeback – and some delicious retaliation.
Only 13 teams in the sport’s history have come back from a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs. And one of those comebacks, possibly the most amazing and significant in history, came at the cost of Curry and the Warriors, thanks to LeBron James.
That was in the NBA Finals 2016 when the Warriors’ 73-win club cruised to a comfortable 3-1 series lead – until the LeBron-led comeback.
Warriors’ Revenge Mission: Curry’s Chance to Rewrite the Narrative Against LeBron James
The King hauled his team out of a deep, deep hole, an act of basketball excellence that resulted in more than just a title for his then-Cleveland Cavaliers. It also denied Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and the remaining 73-win Warriors club the opportunity to be crowned the best team ever.
So, after LeBron’s career, with his prospects of winning another championship dwindling, what a thing it would be for Stephen Curry to return the favor.
“Now it shifts,” he said after the win on TNT’s Inside The NBA. “I believe we can play better.” I haven’t been shooting well from three. Klay’s performance has been hit or miss. But, We can take another step forward. That is the appeal of the playoffs. Every game has its own story.”
Of course, he’s correct. They have the potential to be better, partly because they have frequently underwhelmed in this series. That is why winning in Los Angeles, let alone the following two games, will be difficult. Despite the triumph, the machinery of the Warriors’ long-running dynasty appears old and creaking.
Stephen Curry tallied 27 points in the victory, but Steph was just 3 of 11 from deep. As he pointed out, he’s been abysmal in that regard this series: 17 of 53, or 32%. And he is one of many who have performed below expectations.
Thompson has also been sluggish, which he continued Wednesday night. The fact that Golden State kept this series alive despite Thompson’s persistent problems (he had 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting) does not diminish how severely they might use his assistance moving ahead.
Golden State Warriors Supporting Cast Struggles to Step Up in Crucial Playoff Battle
Jordan Poole could have been more effective. Despite a strong performance in Game 5, Draymond Green has been inconsistent. Steve Kerr has been perplexed as to who to turn to, starting JaMychal Green (zero minutes Wednesday night) early in the series and Gary Payton II the last 2 games (20 total minutes in the first two games of this series).
Not exactly decisive material.
And this is the same club that only won 11 away games throughout the regular season. It’s still the club with so much drama hanging on it: the Jordan Poole incident last fall, the pressure to keep things moving, and the unknown futures of both Draymond Green and president of basketball operations Bob Myers after this season.
There’s also the difficult chore of attempting to get past James, who has been a thorn in this team’s side in the past, the player who lost the Warriors the title and a significant chunk of history seven years ago.
Stephen Curry’s Quest for Redemption and Tremendous Success Against LeBron James
We don’t know what happened to Anthony Davis when he exited Wednesday’s game with a head injury, and other circumstances may influence how things progress.
But what Stephen Curry said after the win is also accurate. They can do better. He has the potential to do better.
They say revenge is best served cold, but Frank Sinatra said it better: the best payback is a tremendous success.
If Stephen Curry, one of the game’s all-time greats, can take that next step he mentioned and lead the Golden State Warriors to a win Friday night in Los Angeles Lakers, and he’ll be on the verge of both dishing that retribution to another all-time great in LeBron all these years later. The prospect of achieving tremendous success at the cost of his opponent is tantalizingly close.
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