What is the best way to stop Stephen Curry? Constantly send double-teams his way? Defend him with a physically imposing forward instead of a guard? Lock him in a closet and throw away the key?
No, you simply play against the Warriors star on Christmas Day.
Curry is a two-time MVP, three-time NBA champion and future Hall of Famer, yet he becomes a mere mortal when he takes the floor on Dec. 25. In eight career games on that date, Curry is averaging just 13.1 points while shooting 30.2 percent from the field and 20.4 percent from 3-point range. To put those numbers in perspective, Curry has averaged 24.3 points through 791 career games on 47.5 percent shooting from the field and 43.1 percent shooting on 3-pointers.
|Christmas Day*||Points||FG-FGA||3PT FG-3PT FGA||Win or Loss?|
|Averages||13.1||35-116 (30.2%)||10-49 (20.4%)||3-5|
*missed 2017 and 2019 Christmas Day games with injuries
In his last Christmas Day appearance, a 138-99 loss to the Bucks, Curry scored 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting and finished a game-low minus-24. He has never posted 20-plus points on Dec. 25, and he has failed to hit more than two 3-pointers in any game on that date.
Curry has 10 total 3-point field goals across those eight games. During his career, Curry has drained at least 10 3-pointers in a single game on 22 different occasions.
“It’s been a tough go,” Curry said of his Christmas Day performances after a 2018 loss to the Lakers. “I really don’t know.”
Can Curry finally break out of his holiday funk this year in a matchup against the Suns? Well, it could be a challenge for multiple reasons.
First, Curry will likely be missing important teammates. Klay Thompson reportedly won’t be back until January. Andre Iguodala has been dealing with a knee issue. Damion Lee, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins are currently in the league’s health and safety protocols. A limited Warriors rotation means that all eyes will be on Curry, so he may be forced to take some tough shots that come outside of the typical offensive flow.
And then there’s the opponent. The Suns hold the second-best defensive rating in the league behind only the Warriors, and they have the personnel to make life difficult for Curry. Phoenix held Curry to the worst shooting night of his career in a 104-96 win on Nov. 30. Mikal Bridges in particular bothered Curry with his elite combination of length and quickness.
If Curry is searching for good news, uh, at least Christmas Day only comes once a year!