Don’t let the smooth taste and cherub face fool you ever again.
Stephen Curry found himself in the heart of the Cavs’ bench after an errant three attempt ricochet off the backboard to end the third quarter of game two. He was in enemy territory, and it didn’t phase him a bit. In fact, it gave him a rush because there he was looking at Kendrick Perkins — a 6-foot-10 inch 270 pound lump of menacing inertia — up and down in a way that’s could be interpreted an invitation to “square up” and asked sarcastically “you ain’t playing tonight?” after colliding with Perkins’ feet and legs.
Curry thought that Perkins tried to injure him since he didn’t move, and let Perkins hear about it despite being surrounded by Tristian Thompson, LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs.
In Game 1, Curry dared to come for the ‘King’ as he jumped in James’ face when he taunted Curry after blocking his layup in the closing minutes of the game.
Perception has a head start against reality and more often than not, it’s tough for truths that are contrary to what’s being perceived to gain teeth in the court of public opinion. Around the league and among some fans, the general and tired consensus on Stephen Curry is that he is “soft” , “timid” and afraid of contact and physicality. Also, Curry is battling the perception that he does not “show up in the playoffs/finals.”
Despite being eighth all time in career playoff points per game, second in career threes made, and averaging nearly a triple double in last year’s Finals, the perception that Curry is a “regular season star” remains.
In Marcus Thompson’s “Golden”, there’s an entire chapter that addresses the hate that Curry receives and it address the misconception of his toughness due to his appearance in stature and tone (which is another article for another time).
Curry isn’t a stranger to on court spats. He’s gone at Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverly, and Semaj Christon. In this Finals, Curry’s gunning for the Finals MVP and in the process, letting it be known that he has some “dawg” in him on the court whether people want to believe it or not.
This isn’t to say that Curry is some kind of tough guy. What I’m saying here is Curry isn’t as “weak” or “soft” as he has routinely been portrayed to be.
Personally, I love it when Curry gets mad enough to go right at any and everyone trying to bully him on the court, and then shut them up with his play. Sometimes its not enough to play through the physicality. Eventually, you got to go right back at people. And to see Curry hold his own like this — getting in faces,not backing down — it’s refreshing. It’s aggressive and when Curry is aggressive on the court, good things happen.
Hopefully, for the sake of the Warriors, it would be capping off their third title in four years sooner rather than later.