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Steph Curry is by far one of the most decorated NBA players of his generation. But despite winning three championships, his regular season success has not always translated to the playoffs. This has left Curry searching for his first Finals MVP to add to his list of accolades. As his quest continues, Curry has reflected on his postseason blunders—namely the Warriors' collapse during the 2016 NBA Finals.
Ahead of Sunday's Game 2, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan penned a piece explaining how pressure can either bust pipes or make diamonds. In the piece, Curry explained that he let his competitive nature overpower his decision making in Game 7. This led to a rushed shot that turned into a chain of events that he feels cost the Warriors the championship.
"His reaction with 53 ticks left on the game 7 clock in the 2016 NBA Finals, seconds after Kyrie Irving's surgical 3-point shot had fallen through the strings, was a primal, instinctive response to a lifetime spent swirling in a cauldron of competition and pressure: 'I gotta go back at him.'" MacMullan wrote. "This, Curry would recognize later, was the incorrect course of action. But in the moment, pride overrode practical sensibilities. 'I'm like, 'I just need a little space' -- and that's where I started to rush,' Curry says now. 'I look back and think I could have easily gone around [Kevin Love] and gotten a 2, and we could have gotten a stop, and then I could come back down and hit another shot, and we win another championship, instead of me going for the hero shot, which I felt like I could make. 'That was a shot where I was not under control. And it cost us a championship.'"
Kevin Love, for one, agrees.
The outcome of the 2016 Finals shifted the course of history. Instead of becoming the greatest championship team ever assembled, the 73-9 Warriors are the only team to allow a team to storm back from a 3-1 deficit and win the series. Also, LeBron James completed his career circle by returning to Cleveland and bringing the city its first professional championship in over 50 years. But, one of the most impactful outcomes was the Warriors' courtship of Kevin Durant. With Durant, they went on to win two straight championships. Now, as they look to three-peat, Steph is in sole control of his destiny. KD is questionable for the entire series and Klay Thompson went down with a pulled hamstring in Game 2. This places Curry in the position to show why he deserves to be a Finals MVP.