Warriors notebook: How the Celtics want to defend Steph Curry

SAN FRANCISCO — The Boston Celtics don’t exactly have a secret strategy in trying to slow Steph Curry’s dominance in these NBA Finals.

So, what is their strategy for Game 5, after Curry’s 43 points sparked the Warriors’ Game 4 win to even the series 2-2?

“At times we’re allowing our guards to kind of dictate where they want to pick him up,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said 90 minutes before tipoff. “Some of those things are creating some space and opportunity for him to get downhill with some of the picks that they’re setting around half court.

“We have to be a little bit more deliberate about that, understand he can stretch the floor. We don’t want to bring our bigs that far off where he has a ton of room to operate. But we do want to impact him, not just let him get a head of steam coming down.”

Curry is averaging 34.3 points in the Finals on 50-percent shooting from the floor (47-of-94), and nearly just as sharp from 3-point range (25-of-51, 49 percent).

“He’s obviously one of the best at it,” Udoka added. “With his range, ball-handling ability, play-making ability it puts you in certain predicaments that are tough for you.”

Udoka wants his team to “see the big picture” and not get blinded by “just Curry getting loose.” If the Celtics can cut down their turnovers and avoid offensive struggles, their coach likes their chances, with a return trip to Boston already on the itinerary for Game 6 on Thursday night.

THREE-PEAT TALK

When Warriors coach Steve Kerr got asked before Game 5 about the challenges of a three-peat, it wasn’t meant as a cruel reminder how his Warriors failed at that feat in 2019.

Instead, Kerr was asked about a three-peat because of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s quest in the Stanley Cup Finals.

“I just think the accumulation of emotion and the physical wear and tear that you deal with over time,” Kerr said of the challenges. “I think you go from the first year where it’s kind of fresh and new, you know, by the third year you’ve been hunted by every other team and everyone’s building their team to try to beat you.

“You’ve had short offseasons for a couple years in a row. It just wears you out, for sure. So I think winning three in a row in any sport is a pretty incredible accomplishment.”

Maybe that’s a quote to file away for 2024, if the Warriors prevail in this series and next year’s Finals.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Kerr not only was part of the Chicago Bulls’ three consecutive title runs in 1996-98, he hit the game-winning shot to clinch the 1997 NBA Finals — 25 years ago to the day.

“Somebody sent me that (highlight) this morning. An incredible memory obviously,” Kerr said. “Something every young basketball player dreams of. So to be able to live that was pretty amazing. And then the fact that it’s 25 years ago just makes me feel old, of course.”

HEALTH UPDATES

Both Otto Porter and Andre Iguodala were listed as questionable for Game 5, and “they’re good to go,” said Kerr, adding that neither player will be restricted in their minutes if on the floor.

Kerr wouldn’t reveal his lineup 90 minutes before tipoff, but he did praise Kevon Looney, who came off the bench to help key their Game 4 win.

“This year he had his best season of his career,” Kerr said. “He’s grown into an elite rebounder. Played in every game. So we have a ton of faith in Loon. He’s done an incredible job for us.”

Contributed by local news sources

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