Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt will be the primary defender on Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, and despite Curry being a load to deal with, Vanderbilt is relishing this opportunity.
“That is my calling on the team,” Vanderbilt told Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “I like those matchups. Those challenges. That is what I’m here to do.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Curry shot 5-of-10 from the field in Game 1 versus Vanderbilt and committed three turnovers. The Warriors guard finished with 27 points while shooting 10-of-24 overall and 6-of-13 from beyond the arc in the Lakers’ five-point win.
“He’s a hell of a player,” Vanderbilt said of Curry. “He’s even more dangerous without the ball. One second you think you can relax and give it up. That is when you have to lock in the most. He’s a tough cover. We have a lot of bodies to throw at him. Starting with me, Dennis, I think everyone did a great job of chasing him around kind of wearing him down and making it hard for him.”
Jarred Vanderbilt: With My Size, I Can Dictate a Little Bit
Vanderbilt is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. The Lakers swingman believes his length will help him slow Curry down.
“With my size, I can dictate a little bit,” Vanderbilt told Spears. “I’m trying to send him this way even though it is still hard. Having a little length on him helps a little bit. But it’s tough. It’s tough. I watched a lot of film. I’ve guarded him before, just not in the playoffs. I just locked down and just trusted the game plan.
“Anytime he’s inside the 3-point line, it’s a win for us. Just get him off the [3-point] line and make him drive to take a couple layups. I focus on him. He’s obviously the most dangerous on the court, especially when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands, the way he moves and cuts and coming off screens. The biggest thing was stopping him. Limiting him.”
If the Lakers win Game 2, they will take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series back to Los Angeles.
Stephen Curry Says It Takes Time to Get Used to Playing Against Anthony Davis
Curry told reporters after Game 1 that it takes time to get used to playing against Lakers big man Anthony Davis since he’s so long and athletic. AD had 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in Game 1 while shooting 11-of-19 overall.
“For sure. It’s also because of how they’re playing us,” Curry said. “They know they want to take away our threes, even though we got 50 of ’em up. They wanna try to put pressure on the perimeter, funnel everything into the paint and allow him to disrupt a lot and close the space pretty quick. It’s kind of deceiving.
“You feel like you have a good look to get it over the top and he gets a fingertip on it. So you gotta respect it. Like that’s how he makes an impact on that end of the floor. And you can’t be stubborn thinking you can just keep going in there. You still got to be able to drive and put pressure on the rim, but you can do it in a creative way. So yes, you got to feel it because it’s impactful.”
Davis and LeBron James combined for 52 points and 34 rebounds in Game 1.