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Portland players acknowledge need to change up defense on Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry, Maurice Harkless

The Portland Trail Blazers, like every opponent of the Golden State Warriors, found themselves between a rock and a hard place when formulating their defensive strategy against Stephen Curry. The one the coaching staff ultimately employed in Game 1, though, was still clearly the wrong choice – and Portland’s players are willing to say so publicly.

After Curry lit up the Blazers in Game 1 by taking advantage time and again of the team’s “drop” ball-screen coverage, forward Moe Harkless admitted that the two-time MVP had way too much space to operate beyond the arc.

“I don’t think there’s any way Steph should come off a pick-and-roll and have a clean look,” he said, per Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. “We don’t get that. Dame don’t get that. CJ (McCollum) don’t get that. There’s no way the best shooter in the game should get that. We’ve just got to make it a little tougher on them coming off those screens, not let them get clean looks. I’m sure coach will make an adjustment.”

McCollum was more succinct offering the same assessment. Asked how his team could better contain Curry going forward, Portland’s star shot-maker basically pleaded with coach Terry Stotts and company to make a change to their defensive approach.

“Anything but what we did tonight,” he said.

Curry had 36 points, six rebounds, and seven assists in Game 1. He shot a whopping 9-of-15 from three, with a majority of those makes and attempts coming out of basic pick-and-roll action, when Portland left the defender guarding the screener in the paint, letting Curry get clean look after clean look.