In an interview with ABC’s Paula Faris, before the 2015 NBA Finals, Curry said he wanted to be the one to bring an end to the championship drought suffered by Cleveland. At the time, Warrior fans felt a little uneasy thinking their Akron boy meant to leave Oakland to make good on his wish. Little did they know, Curry could come through for Cleveland staying right where he was.
In Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Curry shot 31.6% accounting for 17 points, two assists, and four turnovers. Before the playoffs, Curry averaged 50.4% shooting, 30.1 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists vs. the league. Curry shot 54.5% vs. the Cavs in the regular season. Even during the playoffs, where Curry was playing the toughest teams in the NBA who all had a huge focus on stopping him, his field goal percentage was still 44.5%. This is still 13 points higher than his Game 7 finals performance. All season, Curry had shown the ability to completely take over games. In the finals, Curry struggled to get going. It wasn’t until there was just over one minute left in the series, however, that we could see Curry’s true intentions.
With four and a half minutes left and the two teams tied at 89 points apiece, the game was looking for a star. In that final stretch, Curry took four 3’s. The single most prolific 3-point shooter in the history of the NBA had a season long 3-point shooting percentage of 45.4%, and a playoff percentage of 41.3%. Taking 4 shots, Curry’s playoff probability would dictate that Curry would make at least one of these shots 88.3% of the time; considering how Curry performs at the end of games, the probability should have been even higher. What really occurred was defied logic. In his last 4 shots, Curry struggled to even get close.
Now it makes sense, MVP’s want the biggest moments, but when your shot is off and you have another insanely clutch shooter in Klay Thompson, Curry might have known to allow Klay to try his hand at least once from beyond the arc. Now admittedly, Klay had struggled from 3 as well in this game, but he is a player known to be unaffected by previous misses always seeming to believe his next one will fall. Unfortunately for the Warriors however, Klay only had one shot in the last four and a half minutes and it was a pull up two. Another option would have been to get the ball in Draymond Green’s hands who had 32 points to that point and had not only knocked down 6-8 from downtown, but seemed to be unstoppable going to the hoop. But with the final timeout, Curry could still be seen saying, “Get me the ball,” and who would question him? As they say, hindsight is 20-20, and even if the moment were to occur again, Curry was, and should have been, the man for the moment. However, one key interview in early June 2016 may have been playing in the back of his mind. This was his shot right then and there to finally give Cleveland its long awaited championship.
The subconscious is a powerful thing. And being born in Akron, watching season after season, albeit from afar, with each one ending in despair for the people of his birthplace has to stick with a man. We’ve seen how the career decisions of Lebron James’ have been affected by the same feelings. And with Curry having in his hands the direct ability to provide a profound happiness to the people of Akron, where he took his first breath, and shared his first birthday, those are the feelings that may have been just too much for one man to overcome.