Steph Curry Hated Losing Finals MVP to Kevin Durant: Ex-Warrior

Kevin Durant and Steph Curry

Getty Kevin Durant and Steph Curry

When the Warriors won back-to-back NBA Championships in 2017 and 2018, Kevin Durant was named NBA Finals MVP on both occasions. While Durant was the clear runaway winner in 2017 — averaging 35.2 points to Stephen Curry’s 26.8 — it was a much closer race for the award the following year.

During the 2018 NBA Finals, also against the Cavaliers, Durant and Curry were neck-and-neck in the MVP race until Game 3 when the latter had a poor outing, going 3-of-16 from the field for 11 points. Meanwhile, Durant had one of the best games of his playoff career with 43 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and a block.

As such, the Finals MVP scales tipped heavily in favor of Durant by the end of Game 3.

According to former Warriors player Nick Young — a member of the 2018 championship team — Curry was upset about Durant winning the award and was nearly in tears after he blew his shot at Finals MVP with his Game 3 performance.

“I remember they was neck and neck, KD and Steph, and then Steph had one bad game [and] KD was hitting,” Young said on the June 10 episode of the “Gil’s Arena” podcast. “[In the] locker room Steph’s head was down, damn near in tears after a win. Man, he wanted to win that [Finals MVP award].”

Did Durant Want Curry to Win?

Young then reflected on Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Finals when Curry attempted a 27 shots to Durant’s 17. At the time, many perceived it as a sign of Durant allowing Curry to win the award. Young confirmed the rumor.

“KD was trying to give it [the Finals MVP] to him — like KD won the year before. But Steph couldn’t make a shot,” Young recalled.

In that Game 4, Curry went 12-of-27 from the field for 37 points, compared to Durant’s 7-of-17 for 20 points.

Ultimately, Durant’s series averages of 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game edged out Curry’s 27.5 points, 6.8 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals.

Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas suggested that it was obvious to everyone that Curry — by shooting 27 times — was trying to win the Finals MVP award.

“When people say this is not a thing, it is, man,” Arenas said. “It really is. Like, [if] I’m this close to winning something, you don’t think I’m going to go for it? Of course.”

Curry Finally Got the Award that Eluded Him

In 2022, Curry uninamously captured the NBA Finals MVP award after his Warriors beat the Celtics 4-2 in the finals.

After finally crossing the hurdle, Curry downplayed the importance of the award.

“It means we won,” Curry said on the podium when asked about winning Finals MVP. “It means we took advantage of the opportunity of getting back here. I hear the chatter. We hear all the chatter. At the end of the day, it’s about what we do on the floor. Ain’t got to talk about it. Just go and do it.”

“We were so far away from it — we were here for five straight years and got three of them, then you hit rock bottom with injuries, and the long road of work ahead,” Curry added. “You never take this for granted because you never know when you’re going to be back here, and to get back here and get it done means the world.”

Curry averaged 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals through six games against the Celtics.

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