Warriors opponents are using a ‘janky defense’ to stop Steph Curry. He’s ready to adjust.

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The secret is officially out, although it was never much of a secret to anyone who’s watched defenders try to stop Stephen Curry.

Eleven games into the 2020-2021 season, the Golden State Warriors star knows exactly how opposing teams are going to defend him this year.

“We call it the janky defense,” Curry said following Tuesday’s 104-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

The box-and-1 defense teams have begun employing to stop Curry may look odd at times, but it’s been quite effective.

With 20 points on a 7-for-17 performance from the floor on Tuesday, Curry once again struggled to single-handedly take over a game in the way his teammates and Warriors fans often expect. His output improved after he turned in the worst shooting performance of his NBA career during Sunday’s 106-105 win over the Raptors, but Curry knows the way Toronto and Indiana defended him is becoming the norm.

With Klay Thompson out for the season due to an Achilles injury and Kelly Oubre, Jr. unable to find any sort of rhythm from beyond the arc, the Warriors lack enough three-point threats around Curry to draw defenders’ attention away from the two-time MVP. Andrew Wiggins has exceeded expectations and emerged as a consistent scorer and backup guard Damion Lee has hit some of the Warriors’ biggest shots this season, but teams are beginning to focus even more resources on Curry.

The Raptors wanted someone other than Curry to beat them and the Warriors’ bench rose to the occasion. The Pacers used the same strategy Tuesday and Golden State fell apart in the final minutes.

“People are going to throw everything at Steph,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said postgame. “That will be a big theme this season and we have to do a better job getting comfortable attacking what people are throwing at us and we will. We’ll get better with it.”

The attention opponents are paying to Curry is particularly noticeable in the first quarter of games, when the Warriors’ point guard typically plays all 12 minutes. On Sunday against Toronto, Curry didn’t take his first shot until more than nine minutes had passed. On Tuesday against Indiana, his first attempt was only slightly earlier as he missed a three-pointer after nearly eight minutes had expired in the opening quarter.

There’s no question the Raptors and Pacers liked what they saw from film of how the Clippers defended Curry in their first matchup of the Warriors’ seven-game homestand as Los Angeles used Patrick Beverley to swarm Curry with relentless aggression. The strategy worked in the first game between the teams, but Curry has a tendency to render even the game’s best defenders irrelevant as he scored 38 in the second meeting (a 115-105 Warriors win).

Kerr indicated Tuesday it’s only a matter of time before the Warriors determine the best way to exploit teams that are exceedingly aggressive in efforts to limit Curry’s shot attempts. In previous years, the Warriors’ best player was surrounded by a familiar supporting cast, allowing players to anticipate Curry’s next move. This season, there’s been too many offensive plays in which Curry ends up in the exact same spot as another teammate.

“A lot of guys aren’t used to playing with Steph, so a lot of secondary actions that maybe we would’ve gotten a few years ago, we are not quite ready yet to see those pictures and add on those layers offensively,” Kerr said. “That’s got to come. We have to do a better job obviously.”

Curry is clearly accustomed to seeing this treatment from defenses, and even if the box-and-1 looks continue, they won’t compare to the triangle-and-2 look he once faced during his college days at Davidson. That constant double-team used by Loyola (MD) worked to hold Curry scoreless, but it also helped Curry’s team pick up an easy 30-point win.

The Warriors are confident as soon as they find a breakthrough, opponents will be left scrambling again.

“I need to make sure I see the pictures right and make the right plays and still find my shot and find my rhythm to start the games early and continue that throughout the game,” Curry said. “That’s the challenge and I’m ready to figure it out.”

Contributed by local news sources

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