With five minutes and 16 seconds left in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry attempted a quick behind-the-back pass to teammate Klay Thompson in the right corner. The ball floated well beyond Thompson's reach and rolled away, leaving both Splash Brothers visibly frustrated.
That pass may as well have been the Larry O'Brien trophy. Golden State led at the time 87-86 but only managed two points the rest of the game, ultimately falling to Cleveland 93-89. The elation felt by Cavs fans was only rivaled by the schadenfreude of Warriors haters.
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In a recent interview with ESPN's Chris Haynes, Curry recalled the critical turnover, one he says he knows "wasn't a good pass."
"Yeah, I still think about that (turnover)," Curry said. "(But) in thinking about that game, it’s funny because I know the concept of making the right play, making a simple play, understanding that there are deciding moments in games and the difference between winning a championship or not could be one of those plays.
"(With that said,) I came out in preseason this year and threw a behind-the-back pass because I have confidence that I can do it and it won’t change that."
Curry struggled not only in the fourth quarter of Game 7, but also the series as a whole. After averaging 30.1 points per game in the regular season on 50.4/45.4/90.8 shooting splits (field goal/3-point/free throw percentages), the 2015 and 2016 MVP award winner averaged 22.6 points per game on 40.3/40.0/92.9 splits in the NBA Finals. His turnover percentage went up nearly six percent (12.9 to 18.0) in the series and his assist percentage saw a dramatic drop (33.7 to 20.2).
One thing Curry doesn't regret, though, is how he played Kyrie Irving on the critical 3-pointer that sealed the deal and gave Cleveland its first major pro sports championship since 1964.
"You could tell that’s a shot he’s worked on," Curry told ESPN. "I was right there. Tried not to foul. I stayed in front and contested. He just made an amazing shot. You have to give him credit. There’s nothing I’d do differently on that play."
Whether you blame Curry's subpar performance on health, the Cavs' defense, poor play or a combination of all three, it's clear he's shaken off the NBA Finals slump in this year's playoffs. He's averaging 28.6 points, 5.6 assists and 5.5 rebounds while shooting over 50 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range.
Most importantly, the Warriors are 12-0 heading into Game 1 on Thursday night against the Cavs and look as good as they have all season. Curry has a shot at redemption. Based on what we've seen this postseason, it's clear he's focused on not throwing that opportunity out of bounds.
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