Game 1 Review: Stephen Curry Shot Attempts

As the Nuggets look towards tonight’s Game 2 a big key will again be limiting the damage Stephen Curry does, especially now that David Lee, the team’s second leading scorer this season and thorn in the Nuggets side, is out for the rest of the season. On the Nuggets side of things Kenneth Faried is expected to play in Game 2, though he probably will not be in the starting lineup.

As a look ahead for Game 2, I went back to Game 1 and took a look at all of Steph Curry’s shots to see if what the Nuggets did was replicable or if it was more of a matter of Curry just missing open shots. Below is a short breakdown of each shot.

Shot 1: Missed Off Balance Runner from outside paint

The Nuggets trapped a high pick-and-roll on this play forcing the shot clock down a bit and Curry into a tough shot. Good Job by Denver.

Shot 2: Missed Runner from the middle of the lane

The Nuggets switched a dribble handoff between Curry and Jarrett Jack leaving Andre Miller a step behind Curry. But Wilson Chandler was in the area and rotated properly contesting the runner Curry attempted.  Good Job for Denver.

Shot 3: Missed 3 from right wing

Curry shook away from Ty Lawson off the ball and caught a pass on the right wing. Kosta Koufos rotated off his man who threw the pass and semi contested the shot. Ok Job by Denver.

Shot 4: Missed 3 from right wing.

Andre Miller was trailing Curry through a screen and thanks to a bit of a bad pass was able to give a decent contest to the shot that missed long. Ok Job by Denver.

Shot 5: Missed jumper from left elbow

Curry caught the ball after coming off a Bogut screen and immediately used a screen from Carl Landry. But Anthony Randolph was there to contest the shot. Good job by the Nuggets.

Shot 6: Missed stepback jumper from left wing

Lawson stayed with Curry well inside the arc, forcing Curry to try a stepback jumper that he missed. Good Job by Denver.  

Shot 7: Miss 3 from the left corner

Curry caught the ball in the left corner free in transition. After a pump fake sent Corey Brewer flying by, Curry got off a wide open three. Denver got lucky.

Shot 8: Stepback 3 from top of the key

Curry caught Lawson leaning and pulled a nice through the legs stepback but Lawson was able to recover and contest the shot. Good job by Denver.

Shot 9: Missed runner from right side of lane.

Curry tried to use a pick from David Lee and was hounded by Lawson. He eventually got by Ty but Chandler stepped in and helped, forcing Curry to take the runner over his outstretched arms. Good job by Denver.

Shot 10: Made 3 from left corner

The Nuggets got hit with the elevator screen play and Curry got wide open in the left corner. Corey Brewer made an effort to contest but it was way too late. Bad Job by Denver.

Shot 11: Made 3 from left corner

Curry started the play with the ball before giving it up and going to set a screen for Klay Thompson in the corner. Ty Lawson switched the screen and trailed Thompson to the block but Evan Fournier stayed with Thompson leaving Curry wide open for the three.  Bad Job by Denver.

Shot 12: Made 3 from right wing.

Curry dribbled around for a while in transition before launching a jumper over the outstretched arms of Iguodala, who picked him up mid play. Good Job by Denver.

Shot 13: Made floater from in front of rim

Lawson let Curry catch the ball in the left corner after penetration from Jack and closed out a bit too hard. Curry took advantage driving to the middle of the floor and beating Wilson Chandler before lofting a floater that he swished. Bad Job by Denver.

Shot 14: Made 3 from right wing

Curry broke down Corey Brewer after a gorgeous behind the back dribble and nailed the wide open three. Bad Job by Denver.

Shot 15: Missed floater in middle of lane

Curry got Lawson on a switched pick-and-roll and broke him down into the paint. But Kosta Koufos rotated up and contested the Curry floater. Good Job by Denver.

Shot 16: Made layup

After a missed Brewer three Curry ran out and got a wide open transition layup when Denver didn’t balance the floor. Bad Job by Denver.

Shot 17: Missed floater from right side of lane coming middle

Curry got Chandler on him after a switch and was able to beat him but Koufos came over in time to make Curry have to settle for a tough floater.Good Job by Denver.

Shot 18: Pull-up jumper in transition.

Curry pulled-up and shot a three over Wilson Chandler in transition. Chandler did well to not get caught backing up and was able to contest the shot. Good Job by Denver.

Shot 19: Missed 3 from right wing.

Curry came off a double screen and got a pretty good look on the three. The Nuggets switched the initial screen leaving Chandler on Curry and tried to switch the second to have Iguodala pick him up. But Iggy got stuck in the screens and Curry got a semi-clean look. Ok Job by Denver.

Shot 20: Made 3 from left corner

The Warriors tried the elevator doors screen again and Lawson did a good job to get through it. But when Jarrett Jack penetrated the middle Lawson got caught in no man’s land allowing the pass to Curry. He then compounded the issue by biting on the pump fake and gave up the made three. Bad Job by Denver.

The final numbers based on what I saw came in this way:

Good Job: 10

Ok Job: 3

Bad Job: 6

Lucky: 1

So the Nuggets did a pretty good job of making Curry’s life difficult in Game 1. Curry will eventually hit some contested jumpers but the Nuggets must make as many of his shots as possible contested. Their Game 1 effort is definitely replicable and they actually should improve a bit. Now that the Nuggets second toughest matchup in Lee is gone the series may very well come down to how Curry shoots.

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  • Josh

    Woah, this is a great read. Thanks for putting in the time to take notes on the game for each shot and give a short analysis. This article is why I love this site, for the geeky stats and analysis that the everyday fan couldn’t care less about. Seems like most of Denver’s problems come with the pick and roll. Are they still switching after every pick? And if so, is that necessarily a bad thing now with bigger/ adept defenders being switched onto Curry i.e. Iggy, Brewer, Chandler?

    I can’t wait to watch tonights game. Go NUGGS!

  • Evan Woodruff

    Lawson’s defense on the last one was not bad, and was noted as good defense by multiple sources around the league, as well as on this site itself.

    This leads me to question the entire credibility of this article.

    • Kalen

      I mentioned this last night on Twitter in the Grizzlies-Clippers game, but I think there’s somewhat of a misunderstanding about what qualifies as good defense in the NBA. Everybody was saying there was nothing Tony Allen could have done to stifle Chris Paul, that Paul just made an incredible shot and there was no stopping it, but I disagreed. Just because you play tight, physical coverage that doesn’t mean it’s good defense. Melo would occasionally get in a low defensive stance and crowd his man, but it wouldn’t prevent his opponent from blowing by him whenever he wanted. The first thing Allen should have done is force Paul left. This action alone immediately decreases his chances of making a basket by a wide margin. Taking a fall-away, one-handed bank shot from the left side is twice as hard as it is from the right.

      Just because other people around the league say something, and come to a consensus, doesn’t mean it’s absolutely correct. Did Gasol deserve DPoY over Iggy? He beat him by a wide margin, probably way wider than he should of. At the end of the day people seemed happy with it. But I can tell you right now that Iggy’s defensive mentality was more important to his team — which had the better record — than Gasol’s was to his.

      That said, I didn’t get to see the last several minutes of this game, so I can’t really judge Lawson.

      • Thomas

        It was bad defense on Lawson because he slid over to help too much space between him and curry, but then when he ran back to contest he bit on the pump fake.

    • Matt

      I actually did the reaction for that game and on first look I didn’t think it was that bad. But the great thing about the NBA Media site videos I used for this is that you can use slow motion to view the clips. Lawson was sucked too far into the paint up three in that situation, especially when defending Curry who was by far the most dangerous man on the floor. The initial work to get through the elevator door screens was terrific but after that it fell apart. Lawson gets sucked too far in, then turns his back to Curry. On the pass he closes out too hard and gets beat by a pump fake. Lawson’s hand never got back in front of Curry’s release/face until after he shot the ball. So initially things looked good but on the secondary action that actually led to the three Lawson did not do a good job.

      • Joshua

        Ya I agree. When you are up 3 points with seconds to go you need to pitch a tent on the 3-point line (especially if you are on Curry). Lawson was caught too deep inside and was late getting to the 3-point line. Granted, he did recover pretty well and got out to Curry quickly, but he was then easily ball faked and gave Curry a pretty good look. I think had he been in better position he would not have been pump faked as easily.

        I wanted to make one other point. I noticed there were times in the 4th where Chandler would end up on Curry through double teams and switches. It would be interesting to go back and look at tape, but if I remember correctly, it seemed that every time Chandler ended up on Curry he disrupted him very well – turnovers, shots with little time left on shotclock, timeouts etc… I don’t know if it makes sense, but to me it seems like the more we could get Chandler on Curry the better. Did anyone else notice this?

  • NugZeit

    Great write up! Thanks for all you do.

    I won’t have time to go over every shot attempt, but I certainly remember that last score. Lawson did a great job of sticking with Curry, until he bit a little on the fake. However, Ty was still able to recover and moderately challenge. If he had more length he would have been in good shape, but he’s a bit on the short side. Overall I would classify this as “OK” not “Bad” – though I don’t think that particular play qualifies as Great and is probably a bit below “Good”.

    That said, a great shooter/scorer like Curry is going to miss at least a couple open shots and will def make several well defended shots. So overall, I would think this game would be only slightly below his expected output for this series. He was 4/10 on 3s – so slightly below his avg.

    If Denver continues to contain Curry to this degree, we’re a lock.

    Denver will need to have fewer defensive lapses going forward as I think Curry will likely not miss many opportunities moving forward.

    Also, I fully expect Curry to absolutely torch us in 1 game during this series – most likely game 3.

    Tonights game is huge, nearly a must win game for us – and I’m sure the Warriors feel the same way.

    It would be nice to get this done in 4 since the Spurs are dominating the Lakers, but seems unlikely.

    Go Nuggets!

  • Andrew

    Great stuff. I am worried about the whole “wounded animal” thing with G State, as well as their 3 ball. The Nuggets need to contain Curry as you say, but they also can’t leave the other guys, particularly Thompson, wide open. The best defense is a good offense in this case. If the Nuggets can feast on paint points and turnovers, maybe they can put this game away early and make any late 3s by G State irrelevant.


  • googergieger

    Well we gave up wide open looks to the entire Golden State team, and when we finally decided to play some defense, they started making the tough shots. Win or lose, this is the most disgusted, angry, and disappointed I’ve been with this team. That first half was disgraceful. And screw the Karl bashing promise, Golden State is scared of McGee! Find him minutes. Especially when Koufos is downright awful and Faried supposedly coming back to help us with the rebounding issue, isn’t giving us squat on either end of the court! Can’t play Miller too much either. Especially when we have spacing issues on offense, and we are giving up wide open shots on defense. Awful, awful half. From EVERYONE. Ty woke up in the last bit of the second quarter at least, but this is where we miss Gallo folks. The ones that want him traded for no other reason than we can. His IQ, his boxing out(which no one on this team is going to do apparently!), his spacing, his defense, and his professional pride. We’ve lost games where he has played bad, but never for lack of effort. He is competitive and is mature. Which outside of Ty, nobody appears to be this night. Ugh!

    • Jeff

      When are you gonna stop talking about Gallo? Yes we all miss Gallo, it’s time to move on.

      • googergieger

        You ever reply to comments that bring up trading him for no apparent reason? No? Then eff off.

        • Jeff

          Randomly reply to comments for no reason? Isn’t that what we all do? Jeesh sorry man.

  • Patrick

    I just wonder if Karl will put a fuckin Center on the court after three straight GSW basket in the paint