How to slow MVP Stephen Curry: 'You can't,' LeBron James says

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Friday, May 29, 2015
ESPN

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Looking ahead to the NBA Finals for the first time since the Golden State Warriors clinched their place as the Cleveland Cavaliers' championship opponent, LeBron James was asked Friday what it will take to slow down league MVP Stephen Curry.

"Well, the same way you slow me down," James said. "You can't."

Curry, who has taken his award-winning regular-season numbers of 23.8 points and 3.6 made 3-pointers per game to an even higher level in the postseason -- 29.2 points and 4.9 made 3s per game -- finished with more than double the number of MVP award voting points, 1,198 to 552, as James, who ended up third.

James called Curry a worthy MVP at the time of the ceremony and elaborated on the shooting guard's skills with Game 1 of the Finals less than a week away (Thursday, 9 p.m. ET, ABC).

"He has a great motor," James said. "I think a lot of people don't understand how great his motor is. He never stops moving. His ballhandling, his ability to shoot the ball off the dribble and off the catch. It's uncanny. I don't think there's ever been a guy in the league to shoot the ball the way he does off the dribble or off the catch, off the ball. He just creates so many matchup problems for your defense, and you just always have to be aware."

The whole country has become aware of Curry, as he led the league in All-Star voting back in February and has become one of the more prominent forward-facing personalities the NBA promotes.

"I think it's great for our league," James said. "Steph is great for our league, the way he approaches not only everything on the floor, but off the floor. He's got a beautiful family and everything, so, I mean, it wouldn't be bad for our league at all if they want to model it behind him. He's great for our league."

Kyrie Irving, who said his health is "in a good spot" after he missed two games in the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks because of left knee tendinitis, revealed that he feels well enough to be matched up with Curry defensively in the Finals.

"It's a total team effort," Irving said. "I mean, obviously, I will be starting out on him and whatever happens going forward throughout the game we'll make adjustments, but for me, whenever we are guarding him, it's a total team effort and team defense to kind of limit his touches and limit his shots. He does a great job of getting open, and he's got the quickest release I've ever seen and he just knocks down shots -- tough shots -- as well, so it's a total team effort."

James also spoke about his hometown connection to Curry, as they were both born in Akron, Ohio, saying that the two have never acknowledged the shared background but conceding it "might be a storyline" during the Finals.

James, three years Curry's senior, added that he knew when the Warriors gunner was still in college that he was destined for success at the next level.

"I just kind of read up on the story from day one, how under-recruited he was," James said. "To be able to lead a Davidson squad like that into the tournament [was impressive]. I actually got an opportunity to watch him three or four times in college. I drove up to Detroit to watch him in the [NCAA] tournament. I happened to be in Charlotte playing the Hornets, which was the Bobcats at the time, I believe, and got an opportunity to watch him there [also]. I just thought he was special, a special kid. I'm very good at noticing talent, and I thought he was special then and he still is."

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