For the first time in NBA Conference Finals history, two brothers are pitted against each other with at least one member of the Curry family heading to the NBA Finals to represent the Western Conference. Seth Curry comes off the bench for the Portland Trailblazers and he faces his older brother, Steph Curry, and the two-time defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.
Seth and Steph’s father Dell Curry played in the NBA for 16 seasons, including a ten-year stint with the Charlotte Hornets in the 1990s. Dell Curry is currently a broadcaster with the Hornets. Dell never won an NBA title, but Steph Curry won three with the Golden State Warriors. His eldest son is seeking a third-consecutive title, but his youngest son is trying to play the role as a spoiler.
CURRY VS. CURRY
Steph Curry (Golden State) 24.3 ppg
Seth Curry (Portland) 5.4 ppg
Both Curry kids grew up in Charlotte. Seth Curry attended Duke, while Steph Curry set a whole bunch of scoring records at Davidson.
Seth, Damien, and CJ
The youngest Curry, Seth, does not get a lot of playing time because of the best backcourt in the NBA that no one knows about. CJ McCollum and Damien Lillard averaged a combined 46.8 points during the regular season. In 12 playoff games, the duo is scoring 54.2 points per game.
The Blazers have a rich history with premier backcourts. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Blazers had Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and Terry Porter. That dynamic duo led the Blazers to their last NBA Finals berth back in 1992.
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard will inevitably go down as one of the greatest backcourts in NBA history. They are up there with Frazier/Monroe Stockton/Hornacek, Magic/Scott, and Curry/Thompson. The Splash Brothers get all the attention out West, but the CJ and Dame Show has been a huge hit.
The best of the best will now face each other. Seth Curry is the odd man out. He averaged nearly 8 points per game in the regular season. In the postseason, he’s down to 5.4 points per game. He had only one game in double digits this postseason, but if the Blazers have to rely on Seth Curry to provide offense, they are in deep trouble.
Steph, Klay, and KD’s Calf
After suffering a calf strain in Game 5 against the Rockets, team doctors shut down Kevin Durant for the remainder of the series. After a long weekend of rest, officials decided to keep Durant out of the lineup for at least Game 1.
KD’s calf is the X-factor in this series. If both Durant and Boogie Cousins can play, then the Warriors should have an easier path to the NBA Finals. Durant averaged 28.5 points in four games against the Blazers this season.
Without Boogie and Durant, the Warriors will have to figure out a way to win four games without them. The Game 6 victory, without KD, over the Rockets was a huge confidence boost. Not just for the slumping Splash Brothers, but for the entire team.
Steve Kerr summed it up, “If I knew the bench would have played this good (in Game 6), I would have been playing them the whole series.”
With Durant out, it’s up to the Splash Brothers to crank out the high-scoring jams. It also gives plenty of opportunity for backups Andrew Bogut and Kevin Looney. Anything they can get out of Boogie Cousins is an added bonus. Looney averaged 6.3 points per game this season, but he scored 14 points in 20 minutes of action in Game 6 against the Rockets.
Thompson is averaging 18.3 points in the playoffs this year, which is three points off from his regular season average. Thompson snapped out of his shooting funk with back-to-back 27-point performances to close out the Houston series.
Seth Curry averaged 27.3 points per game in the regular season, but he’s only scoring 24.3 points in the playoffs. The elder Curry is playing with a dislocated ring finger on his non-shooting hand. He was struggling to find his shot before the injury, which didn’t help matters. Curry has three 30-point games in the postseason, including a 33-point barrage in the series-clincher last week against the Rockets.
What Do the Bookies Think?
The Blazers and Warriors were 2-2 this season with one overtime game (which the Warriors won).
The Warriors played several close playoff games, including all six against the Houston Rockets in the semifinals. Meanwhile, the Blazers had to rally from behind to win most of their games including four comeback wins when trailing by double digits.
The Warriors were favorites to win the entire season and heading into the playoffs. With four teams remaining, the Bucks (at -175 on the money line) are the new favorite to win it all with Durant out at least one game and possibly more.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Golden State Warriors are -150 odds to win the NBA championship. The Blazers are the long shot on the board at 15/1 odds.
Heading into Game 1 in Oakland, the Warriors opened as a consensus 8-point favorite. At press time, the Warriors dipped to a 7.5-point favorite.