On Thursday night in Boston, Stephen Curry was crowned NBA champion for the fourth time and earned his first Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award, adding to the missing piece of his future Hall of Fame resume. honor.
As the Warriors celebrate their fourth championship in eight years, we take a closer look at the stats Curry posted in his greatest Finals performance to date. Here are five numbers you need to know about Finals MVP:
1. First NBA Finals player to average 30-5-5 and 5 3-pointers per game
Stephen Curry becomes the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 30.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in multiple NBA Finals, joining Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Jerry West after.
In the 2019 Finals game against Toronto, Curry averaged 30.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists while the Warriors lost in six games. Three years later, Curry averaged 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in Golden State’s six-game series against the Celtics, hitting those marks again.
- 2019: 30.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists (loss)
- 2022: 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists (winning)
- 1991: 31.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 11.4 assists per game (win)
- 1993: 41.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 6.3 apg (win)
- 1997: 32.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists (win)
- 1966: 33.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists (lost)
- 1968: 31.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists (lost)
- 2015: 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists (lost)
- 2017: 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists (lost)
- 2018: 34.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 10.0 apg (loss)
Curry adds an extra layer to that staggering stat, as he’s the only player in NBA history to average at least five 3-pointers per game in the Finals. He first accomplished the feat in 2018, but this year he added 5.2 3-pointers to an already staggering 30-5-5, giving him his first 30-5-5-5 since introducing the 3-pointer Finals 1979-80.
2. On/Off the Field Offensive Efficiency
Stephen Curry led all players with 187 points in the six-game series, and he accounted for 29.7 percent of Golden State’s 629 points total in the Finals. To add some context to Curry’s production levels, here are the next five players responsible for the team’s scoring output:
- Jaylen Brown: 141 of Boston’s 605 points (23.3 percent)
- Jayson Tatum: 129 (21.3%)
- Andrew Wiggins: 110 (17.5%)
- Klay Thompson: 102 (16.2%)
- Marcus Smart: 91 (15.0%)
With Curry on the floor, he accounts for 36 percent of Golden State’s points, including their 41.3 percent three-point shooting. But as we’ve learned throughout the Warriors dynasty, Curry’s impact on Golden State’s offense goes far beyond his own scoring. His presence on the floor — “gravity” — draws a lot of attention from opposing defenses, making it easier for his teammates to play, providing extra space and a higher percentage of scoring opportunities.
When we look back at the Finals, the Warriors’ offensive rating per 100 possessions was 115.8 in Curry’s 225 minutes on the floor. In his 109 minutes off the court, Golden State’s offensive rating plummeted to 88.6 points per 100 possessions.
Another note on Curry’s offensive efficiency against the NBA’s top defenses: Curry’s 62.6 true shooting percentage is the highest among high-volume guards in Finals history (at least 100 shots; 43 players qualify). If we include all positions, Curry ranks ninth out of 86 eligible players.
|rank||player||finals||TS%||Female Genital Mutilation (FG%)||3PM-A (3P%)||FTM-A (FT%)|
|1||Stephen Curry||2022||62.6%||66-137 (48.2%)||31-71 (43.7%)||24-28 (85.7%)|
|2||Chris Paul||2021||62.2%||55-100 (55.0%)||12-23 (52.2%)||9-12 (75.0%)|
|3||Michael Jordan||1992||61.7%||81-154 (52.6%)||12-28 (42.9%)||41-46 (89.1%)|
|4||Dwyane Wade||2011||61.4%||59-108 (54.6%)||7-23 (30.4%)||34-49 (69.4%)|
|5||Michael Jordan||1991||61.2%||63-113 (55.8%)||2-4 (50.0%)||28-33 (84.8%)|
|6||Stephen Curry||2019||59.8%||53-128 (41.4%)||23-67 (34.3%)||54-57 (94.7%)|
|7||magic johnson||year 1987||59.0%||66-122 (54.1%)||1-2 (50.0%)||24-25 (96.0%)|
|8||Reggie Miller||2000||58.8%||43-104 (41.3%)||15-40 (37.5%)||45-46 (97.8%)|
|9||Stephen Curry||2015||58.5%||54-122 (44.3%)||25-65 (38.5%)||23-26 (88.5%)|
|10||Stephen Curry||2016||58.0%||50-124 (40.3%)||32-80 (40.0%)||26-28 (92.9%)|
Curry has now recorded four of the top 10 true shooting percentages with at least 100 field goal attempts in the NBA Finals — but no better than in 2022.
3. Top Three-Point Shootout Finals Showcase
Curry entered the 2022 NBA Finals holding the record for the most 3-pointers in Finals history, making 121 in 28 games on the championship stage. In those extra six games, he added another 31, extending his record to 152. Teammate Klay Thompson (105) and opponent LeBron James (101) are the only other players in Finals history with at least 100 3-pointers.
Curry’s 31 3-pointers are the most in a six-game NBA Finals series; he broke his own record (25) in Golden State’s 2015 title run, a first for this dynasty indivual. Jayson Tatum and Klay Thompson are tied for the second-most 3-pointers in the 2022 Finals with 20 each.
Most 3-pointers in a 6-game series in the NBA Finals
- 31: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, 2022
- 25: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, 2015
- 24: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors, 2019
Curry is just one 3-pointer shy of catching his own record in any Finals series; he knocked down 32 in Golden State’s seven-game loss to Cleveland in 2016.
While Curry had a higher overall 3-point percentage in 2016 and a higher 3-point percentage per game (5.5) when the Warriors swept the Cavaliers in 2018, Curry’s 3-point percentage has gone from Not higher than his 2022 shooting percentage against the Cavaliers in Boston. Curry shot 31-for-71 (43.7 percent) from 3-point range in the Finals, including his first playoff game where he shot zero from 3-point range — he was 9 in Game 5 Shot 0, then bounced back with a 6-for-11 performance in the series crunchers.
The greatest shooter of all time just had his best shot in the NBA Finals, which helped him earn his first Finals MVP award.
What sets Curry apart from other great shooters in NBA history is his ability to hit 3-pointers on the move and stay still after a catch. Curry’s pull-up ability was on full display in the 2022 NBA Finals, where he led all players with 36 such shots, including 23 3-pointers.
To put those numbers into perspective, no other player in this year’s Finals has made more than 13 pull-ups in the series, and only five have reached double digits:
- Stephen Curry: 36-75 (48.0%)
- Jayson Tatum: 13-47 (27.7%)
- Klay Thompson: 13-38 (34.2 percent)
- Jaylen Brown: 12-31 (38.7%)
- Jordan Poole: 12-31 (38.7%)
When we focus only on pull-up thirds, the differences with other areas are similar:
- Stephen Curry: 23-55 (41.8%)
- Jayson Tatum: 10-23 (43.5%)
- Jordan Poole: 8-25 (32.0 percent)
- Klay Thompson: 4-13 (30.8 percent)
- Jaylen Brown: 4-9 (44.4%)
Overall, Curry shot 36 of 75 (48.0 percent) for pull-ups in the Finals with an effective field goal percentage of 63.3 percent. All other players in the Finals combined shot 68-for-210 (32.4 percent) for an effective field goal percentage of 39.8 percent.
Curry saved his best pull-up shot of the season for the NBA Finals. During the regular season, he shot 39 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from three and 52.5 percent from the field. Among 96 players with at least 200 attempts, Curry ranks 10th in effective field goal percentage.
|player||general practitioner||female genital mutilation||FGA||FG%||3pm||3PA||3P%||EFG%|
|Playoffs (before finals)||16||55||136||40.4||36||89||40.4||53.7|
|NBA Finals||6||36||75||48.0||twenty three||55||41.8||63.3|
In the first three rounds of the playoffs leading up to the Finals, Curry is shooting 40.4 percent from the field and 3-point range, and has an effective field goal percentage of 53.7 percent. Of the 48 players with at least 25 attempts in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Curry ranks seventh in effective field goal percentage.
During the Finals, Curry’s effective field goal percentage jumped another 10 percentage points, nearly 12 percentage points higher than any other player on the court.
5. Dominate the off screen and switch
One of the key games heading into the 2022 NBA Finals is Curry against Marcus Smart, who was just named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. When we looked at Curry’s offensive matchup stats from that series, we saw Smart defending Curry at 27:50 and doing a good job of slowing him down. Smart held Curry to 25 points from the field, shooting 34.8 percent from the field, including 25.0 percent from 3-point range, with as many turnovers (six) as assists.
But it was when the Warriors blocked Curry’s Smart that Curry was able to take advantage of the matchup. Curry made 18 shots, including eight 3-pointers, in less than 21 minutes against Derrick White. Curry took 15 shots in just seven minutes against Al Horford, including nine of his 31 3-pointers.
|pair||race minimum||PTS||AST||flight duration||female genital mutilation||FG%||3pm||3P%||FTM|
|Robert Williams III||5:40||twenty three||5||3||10||40.0||3||25.0||0|
Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the number of screens the Warriors set for Curry and the Warriors’ points per possession in those possessions. In those six-game series, the Warriors set a total of 159 screens for Curry and scored nearly 1.5 points per possession.
- Game 1:30 screen, 1.23 PPP
- Game 2: 27 screens, 1.50 PPP
- Game 3: 30 screens, 1.30 PPP
- Game 4: 39 screens, 1.23 PPP
- Game 5: 37 screens, 1.39 PPP
- Game 6: 33 screens, 1.46 PPP
Total: 159 screens, 1.35 PPP
Finally, here’s a game-by-game breakdown of how many times Curry switched offense as a ball-handler and the points scored per possession in those situations. In Game 4, Curry switched more than any player in the entire series. In a clutch Game 6, the Warriors had the most points when Curry scored 1.44 points per possession.
- Game 1: 25 rounds, 1.32 PPP
- Game 2: 18 rounds, 1.33 PPP
- Game 3: 24 rounds, 1.08 PPP
- Game 4: 29 rounds, 1.14 PPP
- Game 5: 22 rounds, 1.27 PPP
- Game 6: 25 rounds, 1.44 PPP
Total: 143 times, 1.26 PPP