The NBA Finals kick off tonight, and for the life of me, I cannot remember a Finals that I’ve been more excited to watch.
LeBron, a physical specimen that is arguably the best basketball player to ever grace the planet, vs. Stephen Curry, a kid that wouldn’t be considered big on a soccer pitch that won the MVP and doubles as the best shooter in NBA history.
It don’t get no better.
But in seeing Steph scorch his way through the playoffs, I cannot help but remember the time that he was held scoreless in a game by Loyola, a small program in Maryland, when head coach Jimmy Patsos opted to play a triangle-and-two … with the ‘two’ being a permanent double-team on Curry.
“We had to play against an NBA player tonight,” Patsos said after the game, a press conference that garnered him quite a bit of hate and infamy. “Anybody else ever hold him scoreless? I’m a history major. They’re going to remember that we held him scoreless or we lost by 30? I know the fans are mad at me, but I had to roll the dice as far as a coach goes. I’m not some rookie coach.”
“Every dead ball I asked them how long they were going to do this,” Curry said. “They really didn’t say anything. They weren’t very conversational about it.”
The Guardian has a great look into that game and what it’s meant for Patsos, who is now the head coach at Siena. Perhaps more than anything, it showed just how unselfish Steph is. How many star scorers — he was averaging 35 a game at that point — would be willing to go scoreless in a 30-point blowout win?