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Bonta Hill: Steph Curry comes up short in the Finals? Not a chance

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Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) handles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on May 31, 2018. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

There’s this notion that Stephen Curry has come up small on the NBA Finals stage. I’m not sure where that narrative originated from, but it’s a storyline that has no legs to it.

Maybe it’s because in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, he missed 10 three-pointers, turned the ball over four times, and failed to blow by Kevin Love in the final minutes.

Oh, how easily people forget. The Finals MVP award eluded Curry’s trophy case in 2015 due to Andre Iguodala’s defense on LeBron James, but Curry averaged 26 points, 6.3 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game in that championship-clinching series.

Then there was Curry’s spectacular performance in the 2017 NBA Finals, where he nearly averaged a triple-double (26.8 points, 9.4 assists, 8 rebounds and 2.2 steals). His deft shooting opened up the floor for Kevin Durant, who wound up taking home the hardware.

Whenever Curry was on the break, Cavalier defenders turned their attention to the greatest shooter in NBA history, converging to Curry in fear of his three-point daggers and often leaving wide-open lanes for Durant and company.

The Golden State Warriors have gone up 2-0 in the 2018 NBA Finals as they attempt to go back-to-back and win their third NBA championship in four seasons, and the face of the franchise has a lot to do with it.

Curry is cookin’ with hot grease in these Finals, burning the Cleveland Cavaliers up to the tune of 31.5 points, 8.5 assists, and 6.5 rebounds a game. His 16 fourth-quarter points — including a 5-of-5 mark from three- — put away the Cavs in Game 2. His nine total threes in Game 2 broke Ray Allen’s record for most made three-pointers in a Finals game.

In his last seven Finals’ games, Curry is averaging 28 points, 9 assists, and 7.6 rebounds. Not bad for a collaborative talent, right? It’s also not bad for a man who missed 51 games over the regular season due to various ankle injuries, and, of course, the grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee that caused him to miss over five weeks, including the first round of the playoffs.

Nothing surprises NBA observers anymore, with regard to Curry, including his half-court shots that may as well be from San Leandro, or his wild shot over Kevin Love in the fourth quarter with the shot clock running down in Game 2. His heave from 30-feet hit nothing but net, sending Oracle Arena into a frenzy.

“He’s a big shot taker, big shot maker; tough shot taker, tough shot maker. He did that tonight,” Draymond Green said after Game 2. “The one where he was falling away was — I wouldn’t necessarily say surprised about that, but it was like, oh, man, he’s really got it going.”

A Finals MVP award is within reach, and as the series moves to Cleveland for Game 3 tonight, the false narrative of Curry’s “struggles” on the big stage will go away forever. His greatness needs to be respected once and for all.

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