Curry, Thompson combo creates problems for Spurs
MAY 08, 2013 11:43p ET
And reverential people do not throw around historical hyperbole, so when Mark Jackson says Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson form the best-shooting backcourt in the history of basketball, you can bet this is something he has said after some consideration. It's not that he is necessarily right, it's just that you can trust he has said it knowing that the consequence of being wrong is looking irreverent and silly, and that's just not a way Jackson is comfortable looking.
Jackson put pressure on his young backcourt, though. Oh man, the pressure. Throw up a stinker in Game 2, one of those off nights every shooter has, and doesn't everybody look silly? Greatest shooters ever? Whatever, you're still down 0-2.
So what happened? Thompson went 8 for 9 from the 3-point line, scoring 34 points with 14 rebounds in a series-evening 100-91 win Wednesday in San Antonio. Curry did have an off night (7 for 20), which only supported Jackson's point. You may see one of them go cold, but not both. Curry, remember, is the one who had 44 in Game 1.
"I thought it was polite of them to at least take turns," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Maybe the next iteration will be neither one of them will be on fire in Game 3."
Suddenly, that looks like San Antonio's only hope in the series. The Warriors have kicked the Spurs' butts two games in a row. The Spurs won one of those games because the Warriors freaked out about having a big lead, saw it starting to slip away and then listened to the delirious San Antonio crowd and got delirious themselves.
Golden State gave away Game 1 in the end, but Golden State kicked San Antonio's butt in Game 1, and then kicked San Antonio's butt in Game 2 (without blowing it), and now the series looks like it will be decided by whether the best-shooting duo in the history of the sport stays hot or goes cold.
The trouble for San Antonio is the Warriors now believe they have the best shooters ever, and they believe it because Jackson said so, and because they backed it up. Thompson had 29 points at halftime, and he was guarding Tony Parker.
"I told (Thompson) at halftime, that is in the discussion for one of the greatest halves ever," Jackson said.
It doesn't matter if that's really true or not, just as it doesn't matter if the shooting thing is true or not. The Warriors just needed a reason to believe they could beat the Spurs, and they found it in Jackson's little declaration. They're the underdog, but what are they afraid of? They've got the best shooters ever. The Spurs should be afraid of them.
And, yeah, the Spurs should be afraid of them. Popovich probably is going to get his wish before this series is over, but to win the series San Antonio is going to have to find some more scoring. They aren't going to lock up Curry and Thompson three times, because "locking up" just isn't something that happens to guys who can casually make running 25-foot floaters off one foot the way Curry did Wednesday night.
San Antonio knew those guys could shoot it, but the Spurs had to hope it wouldn't really matter, that when it came right down to it they'd make their share of 3s too, and they'd work it around and get the key rebound and coolly put away the hotshots.
And that's how it works with most hotshot backcourts. The 3-point line is the great equalizer, but its equalizing effects are more of a short-term high than long-term health.
Most of the time.
"I said I've got the greatest-shooting backcourt that's ever played the game," Jackson said. "Call my bluff."
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