OAKLAND -– Stephen Curry the MVP showed up Sunday night, and Matthew Dellavedova and the Cleveland Cavaliers were powerless to stop the show.
Curry submitted his best game yet in these NBA Finals, finishing with a team-high 37 points and scorching the nets for 13-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Not only did his work give the Warriors a 104-91 victory but also 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series – putting them within a win of the championship.
[Instant Replay: Warriors endure LeBron, own 3-2 finals lead]
Furthermore, Curry’s performance also buried the myth that Dellevedova, the scrappy yet flawed Saint Mary’s College product, could contain the MVP.
As if Curry required some kind of adjustment to get the better of Delly.
“I don't think he made an adjustment at all,” coach Steve Kerr said of Curry. “I just think sooner or later Steph's going to get going. He had a tough first couple of games. He got going at the end of Game 3 in the fourth quarter, and that's all it takes. Steph makes a couple shots, he feels like he's got it rolling, and he's been great ever since.
“So it's not really an adjustment. It's just the law of averages are that Steph's going to make some shots.”
Marveled LeBron James: “He made seven threes. Were any of those not contested?”
Through the first four games of The Finals, Curry shot only 41.3 percent, 36.6 percent from deep. Those numbers, though, are skewed by an atrocious Game 2, when Curry shot 5-of-23 from the floor, spawning the global glorification of Dellavedova.
That’s gone now, set ablaze by Curry’s torrid shooting in Game 5. He was the Warriors’ closer, firing in 17 of the team’s 31 points in the fourth quarter.
“Those are plays I've been making all year and the ones I feel confident in,” Curry said. “I think it helps to have gone through Game 2 where we were rushing a little bit in the same situation.”
When the Cavaliers rallied to get within one, 85-84 with 5:10 to play, Curry pretty much delivered a one-man suppression. His response was to score 11 of his team’s final 19 points.
“I thought from the very beginning when they went small, had their shooters out there, I thought this is Steph's night,” Kerr said. “This is going to be a big one for him because he has all that room.
“He took over the game down the stretch and was fantastic.”
Curry’s pattern throughout the postseason has been to get better and better as each series progresses. He did it in the first round against New Orleans, in the Western Conference semifinals against Memphis and again in the conference finals against Houston.
The NBA Finals have been no different.