CLEVELAND — Stephen Curry didn’t play up to MVP standards on Christmas Day against cross-country rival Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Golden State Warriors’ point guard registered 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting to go with three turnovers. His first field goal didn’t come until there was 4 minutes, 14 seconds left in the first half.
But his head coach Steve Kerr said he wasn’t focused on Curry’s shooting woes. His issues were with his floor general’s carelessness with the ball.
“I think he can be a little smarter, I think he can make better decisions, and that’ll help against anybody,” Kerr said after his team had blown a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead to lose 109-108. “But I’m not worried about him missing shots; I’m more worried about just decision-making and making sure that we’re where we need to be as a group.”
As a team, the Warriors coughed the ball up 20 times, resulting in 21 points for the Cavaliers. Curry is known for risk-taking with his off-hand, one-handed passes and he will routinely pull off the behind-the-back jaw-dropping assists.
Sometimes he converts, and other times he doesn’t. He didn’t Sunday night.
“A lot of [the turnovers] early was not even due to the pressure,” Kerr said in general of his team. “It was more just decision-making. Around-the-back passes in the paint, silly plays. We just have to make simple plays, and we talk about that all the time, but we’ve got to make it more of a habit.”
It was clear who Kerr was addressing in that quote. This has been an ongoing issue.
In Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, with his team struggling to make a shot, Curry passed the ball from around his back toward Klay Thompson along the sideline, and it just sailed out of bounds.
That was a crucial turnover.
Golden State plays an up-tempo brand of basketball that automatically garners some risk-taking, but Kerr wants more emphasis placed on being fast and under control.
Carelessness is what led to their seven-game winning streak being snapped in Cleveland.
“We had a chance to put them away, for sure,” Kerr said. “Too many turnovers. But we had control of the game and we did not execute at all in the fourth quarter. It was a great tape to look at. It will be quite valuable for us to look at that tape, because we know we let it slip away.”