Over the last 5-seasons, Celtics guard, Marcus Smart, has managed to contain Stephen Curry to a mere 33% efficiency from the field.
The grand stage for the 2022 NBA Finals is set with the Warriors squaring off against the Celtics for the Larry O'Brien trophy. The Dubs make their 6th Finals appearance in the last 8-years, while a young roster of Celtics headed by debutant head coach Ime Udoka looks to create history.
If the Cs potentially win the title this year, it will be their 18th championship, the most in NBA history. Both Celtics and Warriors have played phenomenal basketball on both ends of the floor, continuing to be the 1st and 2nd best defensive teams, respectively.
While the Cs have an overall defensive rating of 106.2, the Dubs are 106.6 in the current playoffs. The Celtics were the recipient of the DPOY this season, with guard Marcus Smart winning it. The 28-year-old became the first guard to win the accolade since Gary Payton in 1996.
Also read: “Tatum and Brown are the heads of the snake, Marcus Smart does what he does”: Stephen Curry addresses facing Celtics in 2022 NBA Finals
As the countdown to the Finals begins, a recent stat shows Smart being the key to restricting the backbone of the Warriors' offense Stephen Curry.
Marcus Smart and Stephen Curry have some history.
Earlier this season, Curry suffered a sprained ligament in his left foot during a play involving him and smart diving for a loose ball. The Warriors MVP ended up missing a couple of weeks but would be back in time for the playoffs.
Steph Curry did not return to the game after an apparent injury on this play.
Steve Kerr seemed unhappy with Marcus Smart. pic.twitter.com/MyD0ppVQtY
— ESPN (@espn) March 17, 2022
On the other hand, Smart received a lot of flak for the incident, with many calling the play a malicious attempt by the Celtics guard. Nevertheless, Curry would call Smart's play unintentionally.
As the two look ready to lock horns once again, but this time at the grandest stage of them all. A statistic points out Smart putting Curry on the clamps.
Stephen Curry has shot 33.3% when guarded by Marcus Smart since the 2017/18 season. pic.twitter.com/BXhuoUaqRv
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) May 31, 2022
Surely a warning sign for the Dubs, with Curry touted as the favorite to win the Finals MVP. There is a lot of pressure going into the finals for the former unanimous MVP as he looks to establish one of the greatest legacies.
Also read: “It wasn't like Marcus Smart looked at me and was like 'I'm trying to hurt that dude'”: Stephen Curry defends the Celtics guard for his play that injured Chef Curry
While the Celtics might have some elite defensive stops, the Warriors have championship DNA that plays a key role, especially at this stage.