How Steph Curry’s ‘maple syrup’ perfection pancaked the Celtics

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

“I had some on my pancakes and it was wonderful,” Fraser mentioned. “It was pure, proper? 100% maple. I mentioned Steph (Curry) on this topic. I mentioned, ‘That jogs my memory of your sweater.’

“Typically when his shot is tremendous pure and you’ll really feel it – he is not hitting the rim, the spin is ideal, the spin, the appropriate arc, every thing within the universe goes nicely for Stephen – I will simply say, ‘ Maple syrup”, and he’ll smile.

You recognize the story. Stephen Curry handled the Boston Celtics like they had been an enormous rug. In his 43-point efficiency for the ages in Recreation 4 of the Finals, you could not see the pancakes for the syrup.

Curry’s play all through the playoffs, protection included, elevated him to a brand new degree of basketball greatness, and nobody was happier for Curry, or prouder, than Fraser.

One among his jobs is to work with Curry when he shoots – earlier than follow, after follow, earlier than video games. They’ve been a crew since 2014, when Steve Kerr was employed as a head coach, introduced in Fraser as considered one of his assistants, and assigned him to work with Curry and Clay Thompson. Quickly it was simply Curry.

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

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

Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

Fraser, identified to everybody as Q as a result of in faculty he requested a variety of questions, fed Curry 1,000,000 passes, kind of. They developed an in depth relationship and mutual belief. After seeing these zillions of hits, Fraser can spot tiny flaws and recommend cautious tweaks to Curry’s mechanics. Fraser will even provide in-game observations and solutions. Typically they only share fun.

Fraser is subsequently the proper tour information, and he agreed to take us by way of the finals, giving a curry-centric inside look, together with perception into the crew celebration after the clincher.

The Warriors, Fraser mentioned, entered the Finals with their eyes extensive open.

“We knew from the primary sport that we might really feel their power and talent,” Fraser mentioned. “We might really feel how good they had been. We knew this could be by far the hardest opponent but.

The Celtics had the No. 1 ranked protection within the league within the common season. They’re bodily, and in finals, referees are inclined to officiate extra loosely, permit extra contact. The Celtics took benefit of it.

“They needed to punish Steph, put on him down, get bodily, get their palms on him, get the refs to make the calls,” Fraser mentioned. “No airspace, by no means comfy. He cannot be the one who beats us was most likely their technique. Not solely is Marcus Sensible good, however Jaylen Brown is powerful, bodily and lengthy, similar to (Jayson) Tatum.

Did Curry ever complain to the referees?

“I want he had. I complain, however my voice shouldn’t be his. … Really, I complained a couple of sport, throughout a timeout, to (referee) Kane Fitzgerald. On one hit, Tatum hit Steph together with his physique, shoved him, then hit him on the wrist in the course of the shot.

“I mentioned, ‘Kane, Steph received hit.’ He is like, ‘How have you learnt?’ “As a result of he solely complains if it is actually unhealthy. I have been round him for a very long time and I do know that. For his stature within the league, he does not complain. And Kane goes, ‘No, you are proper.’ It is a good factor for him. I mentioned, ‘Nicely, it is best to overview these photographs, as a result of he received hit.’ He is like, ‘Level taken.’ “

Curry set the NBA career-high 3-pointer in mid-December, then fell right into a prolonged capturing stoop. He was popping out of it when, a month from the top of the common season, he injured his foot, eliminating him from the final 12 video games. He got here again for the beginning of the playoffs able to tear up, Fraser mentioned.

“He is probably the most centered I’ve ever seen him within the playoffs. i can simply see this. Whereas not a horse whisperer, I might see it in his mannerisms: his eyes, his dedication to element in film periods, his voice in these periods, and his focus in our practices and in video games. You may see it.

“I noticed further particulars of what he needed to do earlier than and after follow. … He was very, very conscious of what he needed in these practices and receptive to me including issues … I felt a degree of focus, I do not know the best way to articulate it different than simply feeling that his depth… was going to result in what he was going to do within the video games.

Recreation 4 was essential. Ought to the Celtics win, they’d have a 3-1 lead that might sprint any hopes of a Dubs comeback. Previous to the sport, somebody requested Fraser what Curry seemed like throughout warm-ups.

“I simply mentioned, ‘He is centered.’ And so they type of checked out me, and I mentioned, ‘He is locked up.’ I knew he was going to have a sport.

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