The Cleveland Cavaliers have Stephen Curry's number — but do you know just how bad the two-time MVP has been against LeBron James' squad?
Since the Golden State Warriors became title contenders during the 2014-15 season, Curry has faced the Cavaliers 18 times. In those contests, he's averaged the following box score line:
23.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 3.9 turnovers per game; 43.2 FG% (139-for-322 shooting) and 39.5 3P% (73-for-185)
On the one hand, Curry has outpaced his career scoring and rebounding averages against Cleveland, which certainly isn't a bad thing. On the other, he's way behind his career marks for assists, field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting.
In fact, it's Curry's efficiency that suffers the most on the biggest stage. Last year's unanimous MVP has shot 4.4 percent worse from the floor overall and 4.5 percent worse on 3s against Cleveland over the past three seasons.
Now, with his Christmas Day struggles fresh in our minds, here are five games that prove just how poorly Curry has played against the Cavaliers, ranked from "best" to worst.
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Christmas Day 2016: Cavaliers 109, Warriors 108
Curry's line: 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, three turnovers, 36.4 FG% (4-for-11 shooting), 50.0 3P% (2-for-4 shooting)
Were mistakes made by the officials? Yes. Did the Cavs nearly escape with a win anyway? Yes.
Was Curry on the bench for the biggest play of the game, though? Also yes!
Feb. 26, 2015: Cavaliers 110, Warriors 99
Curry's line: 18 points, three rebounds, six assists, four turnovers, 29.4 FG% (5-for-17 shooting), 25.0 3P% (2-for-8 shooting)
Perhaps we should have seen Curry's struggles against Cleveland coming well before the two teams ever squared off in the Finals.
Late in the 2014-15 regular season, Curry had a rare off night as he solidified his inaugural MVP case. Most chalked it up to a fluke occurrence; surely the likes of Kyrie Irving wouldn't be enough to stop Curry once the playoffs rolled around.
Oh, how naive we were.
2016 NBA Finals - Game 1: Warriors 104, Cavaliers 89
Curry's line: 11 points, five rebounds, six assists, five turnovers, 26.7 FG% (4-for-15 shooting), 37.5 3P% (3-for-8 shooting)
As Curry goes, so go the Warriors — except for in Game 1 of last season's Finals.
Curry had his worst-ever scoring game against Cleveland to tip off. Maybe he felt the lingering effects of injuries accumulated during the previous rounds of the playoffs, but he lost the ability to use that excuse when he screamed, "I'm back!" in Portland.
Golden State managed to overcome Curry's slow start with seven players scoring double figures. That balanced attack helped give the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the 2016 Finals, an advantage that eventually blossomed into a 3-1 margin.
We'll get to what happened next in a minute, but first ...
2015 NBA Finals - Game 2: Cavaliers 95, Warriors 93
Curry's line: 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, six turnovers, 21.7 FG% (5-for-23 shooting), 13.3 3P% (2-for-15 shooting)
Many scoffed at the idea that the Warriors would be ring-less had Kyrie Irving been healthy in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Given what we know now, however, it seems entirely plausible that the Cavs would be striving for a three-peat if Irving hadn't fractured his kneecap in Game 1. Curry kept Cleveland in the series in the first place, as LeBron's superhuman solo effort gave the Cavs a 2-1 series lead.
Remember, Curry was so mediocre in that first Finals series that the Finals MVP award went to Andre Iguodala for his defensive work against LeBron. While Iguodala undoubtedly earned his accolade, the Finals MVP usually goes to a team's star — unless that star fails to carry his weight.
2016 NBA Finals - Game 7: Cavaliers 93, Warriors 89
Curry's line: 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, four turnovers, 31.6 FG% (6-for-19 shooting), 28.6 3P% (2-for-7 shooting)
In a vacuum, Curry has had worse nights than June 19, 2016. His 2016 Game 1 stinker was a worse box-score-based result than Game Seven, to be sure.
Yet with a championship on the line, the unanimous MVP couldn't help his team in the slightest, which makes this performance Curry's nadir against Cleveland. It's one thing to have a bad game here or there while a series is still up for grabs; there's no larger failure than an epic collapse on the biggest stage, however.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but when Kevin Love shuts you down in the clutch, you have to question your very existence.