For all that Stephen Curry has accomplished in his career, the Warriors superstar will likely never escape the stigma of blowing a 3–1 lead to the LeBron James-led Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. And, from the sound of it, the epic story may be one Curry is still trying to fully wrap his mind around nearly seven years later.
The four-time NBA champion reflected on the ring that got away during a recent appearance on JJ Redick’s The Old Man and The Three podcast. The retired sharpshooter asked Curry to contextualize the 2015–16 season, an iconic year that saw the future Hall of Famer win his second consecutive—and the NBA’s first unanimous—MVP award and Golden State finish with a historic 73–9 record.
As the 13-year veteran explained his answer, Curry naturally arrived to the moment where the Warriors blazed through the playoffs and appeared within reach of becoming back-to-back champions. Until, as Curry put it, James and Kyrie Irving went on an all-time tear that still seems unreal to this day.
“What I say about that 3–1 situation is I’ve never seen two guys play at that level for three straight games, it was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” Curry told Redick and co-host Tommy Alter. “Like Bron and Kyrie were just on. Like, we played well, they just played better. And it was hard to watch and be in that vibe where you couldn’t do anything about it.”
As we all may remember, Cleveland came roaring back from its daunting deficit after James and Irving each scored 41 points in Game 5, and combined for 64 in Game 6. And then, of course, came Game 7 where Irving nailed a huge three over Curry to put the Cavs up, 92–89, with less than a minute to go.
Curry told Redick and Alter that Kyrie’s shot “was kinda in my head” from that moment on, and admitted he still thinks about his missed three over Kevin Love on the ensuing possession that could’ve tied the game. “If there’s, like, one play, like, I know I should’ve done something different, it’s that one,” he said.
While some fans may forever hold the ’16 season over him, Curry, who also shared that the sting still lingers, has certainly made up for it since then. The eight-time All-Star notched three more title victories in the past six years, including a six-game series victory over the Celtics last season en route to winning his first NBA Finals MVP.
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