The Golden State Warriors are in a hole in their series with the Memphis Grizzlies, and unless MVP Stephen Curry steps up it is about to get even bigger.
Irving has tendinitis and foot strain: Cavs guard is banged up but will play.
Lakers to offer Butler max deal: Report claims Lakers readying their offer.
LeBron and Rose serving up NBA treat: Pair are lighting up playoff series.
Curry deservedly secured the NBA MVP 2015 award after his exploits in the regular season, but the Warriors are now facing real adversity for the first time and need him to earn it.
Golden State trail the Grizzlies 2-1 in their Western Conference semi-finals series, and with Game 4 also at the ‘Grindhouse’, another loss on Monday night could be disastrous for the championship favourites.
While Curry isn’t alone in not showing up in this series for coach Steve Kerr, he is the influential leader of this team that makes them tick when he is on form.
The 27-year-old is shockingly shooting just 27.6 percent from beyond the arc over the first three games, and perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that this has come about after he was handed the MVP award.
The emotional distraction that it has caused can’t be denied, but unless he gets his focus and rhythm back, the Warriors could be about to see a season with so much promise end prematurely.
Critics will argue that they saw this coming, a team that relies so heavily on making jump-shots and threes will eventually come unstuck over the course of a playoff series.
Klay Thompson has been equally as guilty for the drop off, and so the Warriors as a team need to find their stroke sooner rather than later as if they can’t over the next two games, they’ll heading out of the post-season.
Credit is due to the Grizzlies who have made their time on the court miserable with their usual ‘grit and grind’ style, and although it isn’t always as pleasing on the eye, it has proven effective with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol battling away inside.
The return of Mike Conley has also been a key factor, with the Memphis point guard turning a -5.4 points margin without him into a +10.4 points with him in the line-up as the Grizzlies have gone 5-0 with their influential leader on the court this post-season.
His play on both ends of the floor is adding more stress to Curry than usual and in turn the Warriors now face their moment of truth. Can the regular season Curry and his teammates return in time before it’s too late? Golden State will find out on Monday night.