True, the Warriors did find other ways to attack while Curry struggled Tuesday. Shooting guard Klay Thompson scored 21 points, and small forward Andre Iguodala had 18 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. But the Warriors sometimes have trouble getting up to speed when the slender, sweet-shooting guard is off his game.
"I don't want to put that all on him," forward-turned-center David Lee said. "That shouldn't be the case. We've been good all year long when our defense has let us. If you look back at Game 4 (when Curry tied a franchise postseason record with five 3-pointers in the first quarter), a lot of the opportunities that Steph got was when we got stops (and) we were able to run out."
The Clippers pride themselves on defense, too, and their top priority in that regard clearly is stopping Curry. They have been double-teaming and trapping him frequently, and bumping him every chance they get.
"It is frustrating at times when possession after possession it seems like there's always two bodies in front of you," Curry said. "But I know that means I'm doing my job. If I can get the ball to the right person, obviously we're going to have an advantage."
Ever since the Warriors drafted Curry in 2009, and especially since they moved him to point guard last season, he has felt the tension between shooting the ball and setting up teammates. His counterpart in this series, L.A.'s Chris Paul, has learned to strike the balance. Curry is still feeling his way, and his hesitance showed in the turnovers in Game 5.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who ranks fourth in NBA history with 10,334 career assists, knows something about playing point guard at this level, and how guys like Curry can never make everyone happy.
"You can't kill (Oklahoma City's) Russell Westbrook for not sharing the basketball, and then kill Steph for sharing the basketball," Jackson said.
On the other hand, Curry has averaged 25.4 points and 7.6 assists in the Warriors' eight playoff victories the past two years, while averaging 20.2 and 8.6 in their nine losses. In other words, his team seems to do better when he's jacking up shots.
Another longtime NBA point guard, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, isn't reading too much into Curry's Game 5 struggles.
"Let's say off night," Rivers said on a conference call Wednesday. "You watch his turnovers, and he was forced in some. It was probably more his part, but some of it was us as well."
While we all wait for Curry to rebound and carry his team into the next round, it's helpful to remember that he's just 26, playing in his second postseason. Yes, he is a rare talent. And yes, he will have subpar games.
"I think he's reached his peak when you think about the way he's playing, but I also believe that you got to go through stuff like this," Jackson said. "The great ones do. Nothing wrong with winning while going through it."
LETTING AIR OUT OF JORDAN
Another big factor for the Warriors tonight will be neutralizing DeAndre Jordan, the athletic Clippers center who erupted for 25 points and 18 rebounds in Game 5. With starting center Andrew Bogut out with a broken rib, Jackson is using a combination of Lee, Draymond Green, Jermaine O'Neal and Marreese Speights to defend Jordan.