Title: Slowing down Stephen Curry not enough as Raptors’ turnaround stalls early
Date: January 10, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors shutting down Steph Curry and doing enough other things poorly to still come away with a loss.
Leading by one with 7.7 seconds left, the Toronto Raptors’ priority on a Golden State Warriors inbound play couldn’t have been more clear: Don’t let Stephen Curry be the one to win it.
That was the edict all game. It was their edict for the entirety of the 2019 NBA Finals, when the thinned-out Warriors offence didn’t have quite enough to handle a “janky” box-and-one zone. It became a part of their identity last season, not just against Curry but against every star; the Raptors became the defence that looked to shut down elite scorers and make those around them do the most damage.
A lot of the time, that worked. The Raptors obviously won their championship as a byproduct of making life painful for Curry. They had a top-five defence last year and held Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, James Harden and more to low scoring nights. And on Sunday, they succeeded in stopping Curry as a scorer — Curry shot 2-for-16 for 11 points with five turnovers, tying the lowest point total of his career when he took that many shots.