July 24, 2024

Clutch Player of the Year goes to Stephen Curry of the Warriors…

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was named the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year on Thursday night, finishing ahead of Chicago Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Curry, 36, finished with the most clutch points scored (189) in the league this season, while Golden State played in more clutch games (48) than any other team.

The NBA defines “clutch” time as the final five minutes of games played within a five-point margin.

“You’ve got to be able to deal with failure,” Curry said. “You have to be OK with the shot you miss, and have a short memory with it. I don’t know if anything clicked other than you know how much time you’ve put into the game and with that comes deserved confidence of, ‘OK, I’m ready for whatever moment you find yourself in, or whatever shot you need to take.’

“Everybody remembers the highlights and whatnot, but there’s plenty of shots that you miss where you’re like, ‘Yeah, that was a good one I should have taken, and you move onto the next.’ You have to have a little amnesia built in there, and that’s the only way you can come back with that type of confidence.”

Curry finished with 45 first-place votes and 298 total points, with DeRozan (34 first-place votes, 272 points) a close second and Gilgeous-Alexander (11 first-place votes, 160 points) a distant third.

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was fourth and New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson was fifth, with 11 other players also receiving at least one vote.

Curry, being interviewed on TNT before Thursday night’s playoff games, was asked about his disappointment in having to watch from home after losing to the Sacramento Kings in the play-in tournament last week.

“I mean, the sad part was just missing three wins to get out of the play-in and have yourself in a playoff series,” Curry said, “where even like the game against Sacramento in the play-in tournament, you’re looking at, ‘OK, we’re down 0-1 and we can find a way to game-plan to get back in the series.’ Obviously early in the year we had a lot of missteps and absences, but you realize we’re not that far off even after staying at this peak for so long.

“There’s some tweaks, we know,” he said. “When you lose, you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘What can we do to get better? What holes can we fill?’ And, thankfully, we have some time to figure that out.

“We’re going to figure that out over the summer.”

DeRozan, 34, is the only player to be a finalist for the award both this season and last, the first year it was handed out. He finished second to Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox in last year’s voting. The Bulls played in the third-most clutch games in the league this season (44) and DeRozan led them to a 27-17 record, the league’s sixth-best winning percentage in such games.

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