OAKLAND: NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry says it could take the best game of his career for the Golden State Warriors to beat Cleveland in Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) winner-take-all title showdown.
The Cavaliers have won the past two games after trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series to force a decisive seventh game at Oakland, where NBA scoring champion Curry has had some of his most magnificent games.
“I need to play my best game of the year, if not my career, because of what the stakes are,” Curry said.
“That doesn’t mean scoring 50 points, though. That means controlling the tempo of the game. I need to be aggressive, but when I need to push the envelope, do it, but do it under control. Do it within the schemes that we’re used to as a team. Focus on details on both ends of the floor.
“All those things go into having a great game, and I need to do that.”
Curry says it is vital that he individually has a great performance in game seven as well as working within the Warriors’ deep team schemes offensively and defensively.
“Four out of the six games I’ve played pretty well to my expectations, my standards, so I need to take it up another notch for game seven.
“That’s what the greats do.”
Either the Cavaliers will complete the greatest comeback in NBA history — no team has ever rallied from 3-1 down to win the finals — and the Warriors will suffer the greatest choke in finals history or the Warriors will cap a campaign that included a record 73 regular-season wins from 82 games with a crown and hand LeBron James his fifth loss in seven NBA Finals appearances, including his third defeat in a row.
Season failure if no title
Curry made it clear the Warriors’ historic season, the most successful in NBA history with 88 combined season and playoff triumphs, will be a failure if it does not end with a championship celebration Sunday.
“Yeah, pretty much because that was our goal from the beginning,” Curry said. “We’re here on game seven with a chance to do it. We’ve had two chances already and haven’t gotten it done — 48 minutes to do it.
“So if we come up short, we’ll all be very, very disappointed. No two ways around that.”
Curry said the Twitter postings from his wife, Ayesha, have not been a distraction for him. She has complained about James, said fouls against her husband in game six were part of a conspiracy to extend the series before later apologizing and accused security in Cleveland of racial profiling for how they treated her father.
“There is nothing really that’s going to distract me from what’s happening on the court,” Curry said. “What’s between me and Ayesha is the conversations about what happened. That doesn’t take any spotlight off of what my job is on the floor.
“I might have to cut the Wi-Fi off at my house, though.”
Curry said that he was happy with the mental attitude of his teammates after their game-six loss Thursday in Cleveland.
LeBron says no legacy at stake in Finals showdown
LeBron James says his career legacy will not be defined by the results of Sunday’s winner-take-all NBA title showdown, maturity having taught him to accept the things he cannot control.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James will lead Cleveland into a matchup with defending champion Golden State after back-to-back 41-point performances as the Cavaliers won twice in a row to level the best-of-seven NBA Finals at 3-3.
“I look forward to the challenge. It’s a game seven. But I don’t put too much more added pressure on it,” James said Saturday. “I’m going to give everything I’ve got to my teammates and my coaching staff and I live with the results.
“It has not always been that way for me, but I think it’s just from my growth. I have matured over the years and I know what’s real and what’s not real.”
James, in his sixth consecutive NBA Finals and seventh overall, is 2-4 so far, both wins coming with Miami in 2011 and 2012 while he lost twice with the Heat and with Cleveland in 2007 and last year.
He could become the first NBA MVP to lose five finals, but when asked if it would define his legacy, he simply replied, “No.”