Curry, Durant make deadly duo for Warriors in NBA Finals
by Jim SLATER / Agence France-Presse
Before last season, fans wondered how well newcomer Kevin Durant and star guard Stephen Curry would work together as new teammates for the Golden State Warriors.
Now halfway to a second consecutive NBA title together, inside force Durant and 3-point sharpshooter Curry have become a lethal combination against Cleveland once again in this year’s NBA Finals.
“Two seasons together, I think we’ve figured out a good balance,” Durant said Tuesday. “I think being able to play off of each other definitely helps. But not just us two. Everybody else on the court kind of plays off each other well.”
Playing Durant tight inside leaves open space for Curry to utilize. Outmanning Curry outside leaves Durant to outmatch most rivals near the basket.
As a result, Durant averages 28.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game in the playoffs while Curry contributes 25.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists a night in the post-season.
“Every opportunity we get to play more minutes together, we start to figure out a better chemistry,” Curry said.
“It’s nice when we’re both going and have the opportunity to play off each other. We both can be aggressive no matter if I’m getting the shot or he’s getting the shot or anybody else on the team is getting the shot.”
The Warriors signed Durant as a free agent after losing to Cleveland 4-3 in the best-of-seven 2016 NBA Finals. After unifying last season, they ran to a 16-1 playoff mark, losing only to Cleveland in the fourth game before winning the crown, Durant’s first NBA title, in five games.
And now they’re poised for another, leading 2-0 with game three Wednesday in Cleveland.
“We just try to do whatever it takes to get the W,” Durant said. “Run the right plays. Run them with force and with pace. When you get your opportunities, be disciplined in your work and trust in your work. That will dictate the outcome. So just try to keep things as simple as possible.”
It became tricky this season when each of them was injured for a span, most recently Curry at the start of the playoffs.
“We bring the best out of each other when it comes to what our strengths are. When one guy is out, you miss that,” Curry said.
“But it’s not hard to kind of ramp it back up once we’re both out there on the floor. We built up that chemistry again. And it has been fun.”
Greater communication this season has led to more encouragement between the stars, helping lift each other mentally as well as with their skills.
“When we pick our spots offensively and try to find the right matchups, find the right flow, make simple plays, good things usually happen,” Curry said. “It’s best when we’re communicating with each other about what we see on the floor consistently.
“We’ve been doing a lot of that as of late, encouraging each other, but also kind of pinpointing things that we see. It’s refreshing to hear that from his perspective, and I’m sure vice versa. So that helps.
“We want to see each other succeed. Got a good chemistry going.” (AFP)