Warriors need Curry success off dribble

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Stephen Curry (right) has struggled off the dribble in his last four games.

The Golden State Warriors host the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals (10:30 ET on ESPN). San Antonio took a 3-2 series lead thanks to an 18-point win in Game 5 on Tuesday.

In order overcome the 3-2 series deficit, the Warriors hope Stephen Curry can return to the form that made him one of the toughest players to guard on the perimeter in the NBA.

Curry had a strong start to his first postseason, averaging 27 points on nearly 48 percent shooting in his first seven games. However, he’s cooled off in his last four games, averaging just 17 points on 35 percent shooting from the field.

Curry’s recent decline in production may be attributed to his workload. Since the start of the season, Curry has played 3,439 total minutes in the regular season and playoffs combined, second only to Kevin Durant’s 3,603 minutes played.

Stephen Curry Distance Traveled
Western Conf. Semis vs Spurs

Many of those minutes, particularly against the Spurs, have been spent moving with and without the ball to create open looks. Curry has run 14.7 miles in live action in the first five games of the series according to SportVU video tracking.

This despite injuring his left ankle in Game 3 and battling through a sore right ankle that he sprained in Game 2 in the first round against the Nuggets.

Perhaps due to those injuries, Curry has moved progressively less in each game of the Spurs series. This after running nearly four miles in Game 1’s double-overtime loss, a game in which he played a career-high 58 minutes.

The less-active Curry hasn’t been as effective on offense, especially on Tuesday. Curry traveled a series-low 2.4 miles in that Game 5 loss, a game in which he recorded his postseason-low of nine points on just 4-for-14 shooting from the field.

Curry’s recent struggles have also been due to his inability to create open looks off the dribble. In Game 1, Curry scored 42 of his 44 points off the dribble on 18-for-34 shooting.

In the last four games combined, Curry has scored just 45 points off the dribble and has struggled with his shot, connecting on just 35 percent (17-49) of such field goal attempts.

Stephen Curry as P&R Ball Handler
This Postseason

Curry, who made an NBA single-season record 272 three-pointers during the regular season, used the pick and roll to be effective from long range to start the postseason.

In his first seven games, Curry averaged 1.03 points per play and shot 50 percent (9-18) on three-point field goal attempts as the pick and roll ball handler.

In four games since, Curry is averaging just 0.69 points per play and shooting 31 percent (4-13) from downtown in that play type while turning the ball over more than twice as often.