A COOL BREEZE blows outside the empty Cleveland Cavaliers‘ downtown arena, and the Golden State Warriors sit on the precipice of a title, just one win away. Still, inside the quiet Quicken Loans Arena, something is gnawing at two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
He tries to shake off the game that had just ended — Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals. The Warriors had won 110-102, taking a 3-0 series lead over the Cavaliers, edging them closer to a sweep of LeBron James and their second title in as many years. But in 39 minutes, Curry had scored just 11 points on 3-of-16 shooting, including 1-of-10 from 3-point range. In all, Curry had tallied more turnovers (two) than 3-pointers (one).
Such a performance is far from Curry’s best, or even his average. Entering the series, a central storyline had emerged: Could Curry finally win his first Finals MVP award, arguably the lone honor missing from his résumé? His Game 3 dud offered no such support.
Back in the arena, at about 12:30 a.m., about an hour after the final buzzer, Curry approaches Johnnie West, a member of the Warriors’ front office. In a hallway outside the Warriors’ locker room, Curry tells West that he wants to get away the following morning, just a few hours from now.
West reminds Curry that the team has practice scheduled the next day, around midday.
“I don’t care,” Curry tells West.
As the conversation unfolds, Warriors general manager Bob Myers watches from nearby and approaches.
“What’d he say to you?” Myers asks West.