SAN FRANCISCO – Something dawned Stephen Curry While the Golden State Warriors began their first legitimate title hunt nearly three years ago: he’s now the old man.
“When I look at some of these guys, you’re reminded of how young they are,” Curry said, reflecting on the star-studded scene in the NBA as the Warriors prepared for the Mavericks’ arrival in San Francisco. “Jason Tatum He is 24. Luca [Doncic] He is 23. Ja [Morant] You were 22. That’s the only part you want to say, “Hell, they’re really that old.” You’re thinking about what you were doing at that age, trying to get into that scene and [play] Basketball “.
The NBA has always been the aging system of governance, a league governed by venerable vets who study—and sometimes torture—rookies before giving up glory. Few of the NBA’s superstars in recent decades have lifted the championship trophy until their very first starts — certainly not without a lot of help. Doncic has designs to speed his course, at the expense of Curry, America’s longtime favorite little brother who, in a flash, has graduated to an older statesman at the age of 34.
The Warriors’ 112-87 win in Game One over the Dallas Mavericks at Chase Center Wednesday night was a timely reminder that the NBA championships remain the best source of inspiration. Even though he was defended by the tougher Mavericks guards Reggie BullockCurry was occasionally attacked by a second defender, aiming at Doncic’s attack, was uncharacteristically imprecise from the free-throw line, and displayed the poise and ease of a thoroughly veteran player in his element. He led all players in points (21), rebounds (12) and assists (four, tied with four others) in Game One of the Western Conference Finals, the first time in his playoff career in all three categories, according to ESPN stats and data.
“We’re very comfortable at this point,” Curry said. “There’s more gratitude to be back here and more sense of urgency not to let the opportunity slip by. Who knows how it goes, but I’m enjoying every part of this. I know Clay [Thompson] It is, I know Draymond [Green] It’s because we haven’t played meaningful games at this time of year in two years. It’s a special thing.”
The win wasn’t the most creative showcase for the Curry or the Warriors for their brand’s style. They were early rushers, and there were a few classic sections of their patented split-section for the vault. However, there have been plenty of instances when Warriors have demonstrated the telepathy that comes with continuity, and moments when Greene’s assist defense wiped out a high percentage of attempting a Dallas shootout or Curry avoided his way out of trouble through a waiting door from kevon looney. The Warriors spent most of the night in a transitional period against a Mavericks side who would prefer to let Doncic choose his possessions in the half-court. Thanks to the tireless defensive work of Andrew WigginsThe Warriors made life difficult for Doncic in his first appearance in the Conference Finals.
The series’ opening was also a statement about how the Golden State would influence the trends defining NBA basketball, circa 2022. The Warriors defeated a Dallas team that attempted 19 The number of shots was more than they did from outside the arc and they implemented a 5-out scheme for most of the night to increase spacing, a practice the Warriors perfected while running their dynasty. All the while, the Warriors relied on a skinny center with a limited range to bolster their internal defense and recoil, taking twice as many shots from the long midrange than they did at the edge.
For the team that revolutionized the league during the 2000s, Golden State looked utterly positive and instrumental.
“Our teams are a little bit off the three-point line,” Thompson said. “This time of year– [coach] Steve [Kerr] He always plays it – that mid-range jump will be there. Andrew, Steve and me [Jordan Poole]It really worked for us tonight.”
It is not uncommon for even the most ardent middle-aged idealist to embrace the pragmatism. During their rise to greatness, the Warriors broke the traditional NBA basketball rules, rewrote some other rules and instituted some new ones. Now, after three years in the wilderness while treating injuries and losing key contributors, the team has adopted a blend of home-based warriors’ wisdom and practical magic.
The Warriors fully appreciate that while Dallas may not repeat the fierce shooting he fired at the Phoenix Suns last week, the Mavs are also unlikely to miss more than three-quarters of their attempts from distance in the series.
For his part, Curry – who graduated from Davidson College this past weekend – appears fascinated as a mentor and contender for a new class of NBA superstars. A relative latecomer, Curry marveled at Morrant’s work and leadership during the Warriors’ Series win over the Memphis Grizzlies in the conference semifinals. Carey also admitted that fending off the young talent in the future wouldn’t be easy.
But age also confirms self-confidence. It tells the man who won three rings, two Player of the Year awards and changed the way the NBA plays basketball that he can trust his intuition without fail. Age is also a reminder to Carrie that the clock is ticking.
“I’m not trying to claim the ‘old man’ tag,” Curry said before the first game, “but we’re just as hungry as they are to get it done. “
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