If the Houston Rockets want to get back in this Western Conference finals series after losing the first two games against the Golden State Warriors, they should start by not letting Stephen Curry get as many open looks as he has been getting.
Bold strategy leaving him open
Curry made 15 of his 17 uncontested shots in Games 1 and 2. His 17 attempts are the most open looks in the series and more than twice as many as any player on the Rockets had. Jason Terry leads Houston with eight uncontested field goal attempts.
The 2014-15 league MVP is shooting 88 percent on uncontested shots, including 82 percent from beyond the arc, in this series. When contested, his field goal percentage dips to 42 percent, including 18 percent from 3-point range.
Curry is getting open far more often than he did in either of the first two playoff series. Less than 25 percent of his attempts against the Grizzlies were uncontested, and 26 percent were uncontested against the Pelicans. In Games 1 and 2 of the conference finals, 40 percent of his looks have been uncontested.
What has been one of the keys to Curry's
success in this series? Playing off the ball and running off screens.
Terry, who is 37 years old, and Pablo Prigioni, 38, have not been able to keep up with the younger, quicker Curry. When Curry, 27, is playing off the ball and is defended by either of the Rockets point guards, he is shooting 78 percent on field goal attempts, including 67 percent on 3-pointers.
Overall, playing off the ball has been getting him more open, higher percentage shots. Against all Rockets defenders, he is shooting 70 percent from the field, including 60 percent from deep.
When creating for himself, he shoots 52 percent overall, including 29 percent from beyond the arc.
With his five 3-point field goals in Game 2, Curry became the first player in NBA history with at least five 3-pointers in four straight playoff games.
He has connected on 57 shots from beyond the arc this postseason. With two more, he will pass Reggie Miller for the most 3-point field goals in one postseason in NBA history.