How Stephen Curry’s ‘maple syrup’ perfection beat the Celtics

Bruce Fraser, a Golden State Warriors assistant coach, acquired a Christmas present a number of years in the past, a bottle of 100% pure Canadian maple syrup.

“I had it on my pancakes and it was unimaginable,” Fraser recounted. “It was pure, proper? 100% maple. I instructed Steph (Curry) about it. I mentioned, ‘It jogs my memory of your jumper.’

“Typically, when his shot’s tremendous pure and you’ll really feel it – it is not hitting the rim, the rotation is ideal, the spin, the appropriate arc, all the pieces within the universe goes proper for Stephen – I am going to simply say, ‘Maple syrup, ‘and he’ll smile. ”

the story. Stephen Curry handled the Boston Celtics as in the event that they had been a tall stack. In his for-the-ages 43-point efficiency in Sport 4 of the Finals, you might not see the pancakes for the syrup.

Curry’s play all through the playoffs, protection included, elevated him to a brand new stage of basketball greatness, and no person was happier for Curry, or prouder, than Fraser.

One in every of his duties is working with Curry when he shoots – earlier than apply, after apply, earlier than video games. They have been a group since 2014, when Steve Kerr was employed as head coach, introduced in Fraser as considered one of his assistants, and assigned him to work with Curry and Klay Thompson. Quickly, it was Curry solely.

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry warms up with assistant coach Bruce Fraser before playing Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference First Round playoff game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif, on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry warms up with assistant coach Bruce Fraser earlier than taking part in Denver Nuggets in Sport 5 of the NBA Western Convention First Spherical playoff sport at Chase Heart in San Francisco, Calif, on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

Fraser, identified to everybody as Q as a result of in school he requested a variety of questions, has fed Curry a zillion passes, give or take. They’ve developed an in depth relationship and a mutual belief. Having seen these zillion photographs, Fraser can spot teensy flaws and recommend minute tweaks to Curry’s mechanics. Fraser can even supply in-game observations and ideas. Typically they only share amusing.

Fraser, then, is the proper tour information, and he agreed to take us by the Finals, giving a Curry-centric inside look, together with a peek into the group celebration after the clincher.

The Warriors, Fraser mentioned, went into the Finals with their eyes vast open.

“We knew from the very first sport, we may really feel their energy and their talent,” Fraser mentioned. “We may really feel how good they had been. We knew it was going to be the hardest opponent but, by far. ”

The Celtics had the league’s No. 1-rated protection within the common season. They’re bodily, and within the Finals, refs are likely to ref looser, enable extra contact. The Celtics took benefit.

“They needed to punish Steph, put on him down, be bodily, put arms on him, make the refs make the calls,” Fraser mentioned. “No air house, by no means snug. He cannot be the one which beats us was in all probability their technique. Not solely is Marcus Good good, however Jaylen Brown’s robust and bodily and lengthy, and so is (Jayson) Tatum. ”

Did Curry ever complain to the refs?

“I want he would have. I complain, however my voice is not his. … I really complained one sport, throughout a timeout, to (referee) Kane Fitzgerald. On one shot, Tatum hit Steph together with his physique, pushed him, then hit him on the wrist in the course of the shot.

“I mentioned, ‘Kane, Steph received hit.’ He is like, ‘How are you aware?’ ‘As a result of he solely complains if it is actually dangerous. I have been round him a very long time and I do know that about him. For his stature within the league, he doesn’t complain. ‘ And Kane’s like, ‘No, you are proper. That is a advantage of him. ‘ I mentioned, ‘Effectively, you need to re-watch these photographs, as a result of he received hit.’ He is like, ‘Level taken.’ ”

Curry set the NBA profession 3-point document in mid-December, then fell into a protracted capturing stoop. He was popping out of it when, with a month left within the common season, he suffered a foot damage, knocking him out of the final 12 video games. He got here again for the beginning of the playoffs, prepared to tear, mentioned Fraser.

“That is essentially the most targeted I’ve ever seen him on a playoff run. I can simply see it. With out being a horse whisperer, I may see it in his methods: his eyes, his dedication to element in movie periods, his voice in these periods, and his focus in our coaching periods, and within the video games. You might see it.

“I noticed added element to what he needed to do earlier than and after apply. … He was very, very aware of what he needed in these exercises, and receptive to me including issues. … I felt a stage of focus, I have no idea find out how to articulate it different than simply feeling like his depth … was going to result in what he’s going to do within the video games. ”

Sport 4 was essential. If the Celtics gained, they might have a 3-1 lead that may crush any hopes of a Dubs comeback. Earlier than the sport, somebody requested Fraser how Curry seemed in warm-ups.

“I simply mentioned, ‘He is targeted.’ They usually sort of checked out me, and I mentioned, ‘He is locked in.’ I knew he was going to have a sport. ”

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