PORTLAND, Ore. – Draymond Green, one of the Warriors’ defensive stoppers, has noticed how Stephen Curry is getting in on the action.
Curry, assigned to guard fellow All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, held the Oakland native to 11 points on 4-for-18 shooting. He then came up with the steal and the ensuing free throws to seal the Warriors’ 95-90 win at Portland.
“He’s really been hawking people up there, and it’s good to see that because that’s how people try to do him,” Green said. “When you give people a taste of their own blood, they’re really not expecting it. They don’t know him as a great defender, and he’s gotten so much better. He’s giving people problems.”
Coach Steve Kerr, who also remarked how Curry guarded Jeremy Lin on Saturday as well as anyone could have, noted that his point guard has “turned into an excellent defender.”
“He’s quick and has great instincts,” Kerr said.
The compliments are something Curry has heard before, and he wants to keep up the defensive pressure for the good of the entire team. When he can guard a team’s opposing point guard, that frees up the more noted defender, Klay Thompson, to shut down shooting guards.
“We were a top-five defense last year, and that’s why we were so successful,” Curry said. “No matter how offensively talented we are and how many points we can produce, if we don’t put forth that effort on the other end, you’re just kind of wasting talent on the offensive end. We have the personnel and the talent on the defensive end to do that and to be another top-five defense.”
Green has seen Curry pick up the defense since the preseason. When matched up against the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul in that first game at Staples Center, Curry gave Kerr a glimpse of how he wanted to take on the star point guard.
“Forget what he did today,” Green said. “He’s been doing that this entire year for the first few games, in the preseason. I can see he’s really made an effort to do better defensively, and the more he does that, the better we’re going to be as a team.”