'He's very special:' Popovich cites three reasons for Steph Curry's rise

'He's very special:' Popovich cites three reasons for Steph Curry's rise

Steph Curry was incredible against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Over four games, he averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.0 steals, while shooting over 56 percent from the field and just under 47 percent from 3-point territory.

Following Game 4 on Monday night, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was asked about the two-time MVP.

"He's taken on the responsibility to be a star every night. A lot of people can't do that. That's number one," Popovich explained to reporters. "And number two -- he's had the wisdom to make his game even more solid. A little bit less mustard and a little bit more fundamentally sound -- which reduces turnovers, gets more shots for teammates -- so he's been willing to tone it a little bit over the past few years. And possessions are that much more powerful."

[RELATED: Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...']

Back in 2013, Curry racked up 44 points and 11 assists against San Antonio in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

But the Spurs held him in check the rest of the series -- 18.2 points and 6.0 assists on 36 percent shooting over Games 2 through 6.

The following season, Curry made his first All-Star Game and All-NBA team.

He then claimed the MVP in 2015 and became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history in 2016.

So is there a third reason to help explain Curry's ascension?

"And obviously his confidence has gone through the roof because he realizes what he does is special," Popovich added. "But it doesn't diminish his attitude and approach and edge as he approaches every game. He's very special."

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

The Warriors are NBA Finals bound for the third straight year.

Following their Game 4 victory over the Spurs on Monday night, Pau Gasol opened up about the Western Conference champions.

“They’re in a groove,” Gasol told Courtney Cronin of the Bay Area News Group. “They know what it takes to win and obviously they’ve been champions, they’ve established records that have never been set before and they’re on a path to get another championship.

"In all my years in the league, they’re playing at the highest level right now.”

Gasol entered the NBA as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 draft.

He won championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to enter the Finals with a record of 12-0.

Their average margin of victory in the playoffs is 16.3 points.

Instant Replay: Warriors sweep Spurs, head to third straight NBA Finals

Instant Replay: Warriors sweep Spurs, head to third straight NBA Finals

BOX SCORE

SAN ANTONIO -- The Warriors entered the NBA record book Monday night. They also advanced to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season for the first time in franchise history.

Their 129-115 spanking of the Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at AT&T Center completed a sweep of the series, extending the Warriors’ record this postseason to 12-0 and making them the first team in league history to post such a record while also opening the playoffs with three consecutive four-game sweeps.

Stephen Curry put in 36 points to lead the offensive attack. Kevin Durant finished with 29 points, Draymond Green with 16, Ian Clark with 12 and Klay Thompson added 10.

Once again, though, it was a scrambling and switching defense that generated most everything the Warriors did. They limited San Antonio to 42.3-percent shooting from the field -- 35.1 through the first three quarters. The Warriors shot 55.8 percent.

The Warriors outrebounded the Spurs 53-41 and won despite committing 17 turnovers, off which San Antonio scored 22 points.

Playing without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs were led by Kyle Anderson, who totaled 20 points.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Though most members of the starting lineup submitted strong performances, Durant and Green were twin terrors.

Green’s line: 16 points (5-of-10 shooting from the field, 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, 4-of-6 from the line), eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Starting at center for the injured Zaza Pachulia, Green played 34 minutes and was plus-19.

Durant’s line: 29 points (10-of-13 from the field, 2-of-4 from deep, 7-of-7 from the line), 12 rebounds and four assists. A model of efficiency, he played 38 minutes was finished plus-18

TURNING POINT:
Though the Warriors quickly built a double-digit lead (19-7, 5:48 left in the first quarter), the Spurs rallied back several times, getting as close as seven early in the second quarter before the Warriors pulled away.

When San Antonio closed to within 36-29 with 8:36 left in the second quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-3 run to go up 51-32 with 4:54 left in the half.

The Spurs got no closer than 10 in the second half.

OF NOTE:
Curry moved Lakers legend Kobe Bryant into fifth place on the all-time list of postseason 3-pointers. Bryant retired with 292. Curry has 295.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L knee soreness) was listed as probable and upgraded to available. C Zaza Pachulia (R heel contusion) was listed as questionable but declared out prior to tipoff. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) was listed as doubtful and declared out prior to tipoff.

Spurs: F David Lee (L knee injury) and F Kawhi Leonard (L ankle sprain) were listed as doubtful and declared out prior to tipoff. G Tony Parker (L quadriceps tendon rupture) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT:
The Warriors await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. The NBA Finals are scheduled to begin June 1 at Oracle Arena.