OAKLAND, Calif. —
The biggest challenge for the Warriors has been maximizing the duo’s abilities.
With both shooting at a historic pace, opponents have started to chase them off the perimeter. That has forced Warriors coach Mark Jackson to often go to a three-guard lineup at the end of games, with Jarrett Jack at point guard and Curry and Thompson on the wings.
Some nights that lineup has been effective. Others, not.
Sunday night’s 97-90 loss to the Utah Jazz was the latter, when the Warriors wasted a chance to seal the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2007 and second in 19 years. Curry, in particular, took just five shots in the fourth quarter after scoring 17 points in the first half.
He finished with 22 points.
Curry admits there’s “not as much creativity” to find seams when he’s running through screens off the ball. At the same time, he recognizes defenses will trap him on pick-and-rolls late to get the ball out of his hands — the reason Jackson often utilizes him as a shooting guard during key stretches.
If there’s a flaw in the Warriors’ way, it might be that Curry and Thompson defer too much.
“I don’t recall many bad shots by those guys,” Jackson said. “They’re very patient, and they take good, quality looks. I think they’re unselfish. And with many players with that mentality, you’re unselfish to a fault.”
Curry’s confounding pass-first mentality, at times, has been especially perplexing.
The diminutive point guard who dazzled at Davidson has shown what he could do on the NBA’s biggest stage, scoring a career-high 54 points in a 109-105 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 27. He shot 11 of 13 from beyond the arc that game, including his favorite of the season — dribbling behind the back against Raymond Felton, using a screen and shooting over Tyson Chandler while getting knocked to the floor for his ninth 3-pointer.