Stephen Curry’s ankle is a crumpled piece of copy paper, and he has had more shots than Doug Stanhope after a bad set at the Comedy Goat in Amarillo. And then he goes for 22, and people swoon over him as though Brad Pitt is going to play him in the movie.
In other words, Curry is The Narrative. Most playoff series have a lot of threads weaving in and out and through each other and eventually they turn out a nice piece of cloth that makes arena rally towels look like, yes, arena rally towels. But not this one. This one is Curry, first, last and all the way through.
And that’s how it probably should be in our we-want-one-story-and-one-story-only world. Stephen Curry is owning an entire series despite playing on 1.7 legs, because he is one of those guys who can hop and loiter and work the edges of a game for an entire game and still be the center of attention.
Hey, it’s a gift. And you not begrudge a person a gift.
After four games, we have discovered a number of things about the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. We have seen Tim Duncan ascendant and diminished. We have seen Andrew Bogut master the art of being better the fewer points he scored. We have seen Manu Ginobili’s effectiveness shrunk down to a few shots here and there. We have seen Harrison Barnes lionized for making 35 percent of a record-high number of shots, and we have seen Jarrett Jack become even more Jarrett Jack than Jarrett Jack has ever been. You love him and hate him in such brief intervals that you end up doing both at the same time.
And then your head caves in.
We have seen Mark Jackson raise press conferences to the downright ethereal, to the point where we can equate Bob Myers finishing seventh in the Executive of the Year voting with the AIG scandal, and Gregg Popovich depress them to nearly Tortorella-esque levels. Nearly, that is. John Tortorella, who is always dismissive in even the best of times, is his own phenomenon, and one more annoying question from walking over to the person asking it and throwing up on the questioner’s shoe. Popovich isn’t there yet, but he does do well-aimed disdain very well.
It’s a team that’s known how to win for so long that it has had to learn how hard it is to lose, facing a team that has long ago mastered the art of losing and is just
discovering how winning is done. It is the Oakland fan base walking into a building sensing doom because their best players have gimping their way to the finish line, but still open-minded enough to lose their gourds when it turns out that gimping is the new Showtime.
But in the end, it’s still about Curry, because it just is. You cannot explain why the media wants what it wants, first of all because the media is not a monolith except in the buildings where the decisions get made (as opposed to where the actual work is done). It makes judgments and it clings to them, and Curry is the face, heart, spinal cord and spleen of this series because it just has to be that way. Yes, Curry crowds out all the other stories, in this series and in all the others. Including the all-too-brief blood feud between the Miamis and Chicagos.
And there will be a time when this phenomenon begins to repel even Curry. I’m guessing training camp of next year, though he might extend it out to Christmas – which is about the first time someone will try to float a Curry-to-the-Knicks rumor.
But for the moment, a fascinating set of collisions between two teams that have so little in common is being reduced to . . . well, framed by, more like . . . one man and his faithful but accordioned ankle.
Hey, as Paul Weller likes to say, that’s entertainment.