Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on SportsCenter that he believes Dubs point guard Stephen Curry doesn’t get as many calls as he deserves.
“He’s slapped around a lot in games,” Lacob said per Chris Montano of House of Highlights. “I’m not going to say he’s been unfairly officiated, but I’m not so sure he gets the calls that some other players do.”
Lacob made the remarks before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between his host Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. The best-of-seven series is currently tied at one game apiece.
“And the truth is he’s going to have a tough night here,” Lacob added. “They’re going to be keying on him, no doubt about it. But he’s tough, he’s a lot tougher than people think.”
The Raptors have done a good job sticking with Curry in the first two games of the NBA Finals. While the point guard has scored 28.5 points per game, he’s done so despite shooting just 39.8 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from beyond the arc.
That defensive success for the Raptors is largely the result of guards Fred VanVleet and Danny Green’s efforts, as StatsCentre noted:
.@Raptors match up well when Fred VanVleet & Danny Green defend Stephen Curry in this series, as the Warriors are averaging 85.2 points per 100 possessions in 108 matchups with him being defended by either
In particular, VanVleet has been a significant problem. ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry posted this chart after Game 1:
Kirk Goldsberry @kirkgoldsberry
Top 5 Stephen Curry Defenders This Season Curry Points Per 100 By Defender 1. Fred VanVleet ………. 10.8 2. Eric Bledsoe ………… 16.7 3. Chris Paul ……………. 17.2 4. Mike Conley ………… 18.0 5. K. Caldwell-Pope …. 18.5 (Min. 50 Matchups) https://t.co/GhpUc9wB3o
Second Spectrum (h/t John Schuhmann of NBA.com) keyed in on VanVleet’s performance in particular:
John Schuhmann @johnschuhmann
Final count was 2 Curry points on 29 possessions as VanVleet as his defender, according to @SecondSpectrum. So, in 2 games this season, 6 points on 68 possessions.
VanVleet is a tough, physical defender who ranked 20th among 102 qualified point guards in defensive real plus-minus, per ESPN.com. He’s been a Curry stopper of late, and we’ll see if that continues throughout this series.
Game 3 is Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, with Game 4 Friday at 9 p.m. Both games are at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.