Warriors Steph Curry is missing out on foul calls popularized by ex-Golden State players dirty play – SF Gate

Warriors Steph Curry is missing out on foul calls popularized by ex-Golden State players dirty play – SF Gate

As Steph Curry chased NBA history to become the all-time leader in 3-pointers made throughout a career, he not only had to overcome the fact that he’d have to make more threes in one game than anyone had ever made, but also some very physical defense from the Portland Trail Blazers.

The out-of-character defensive stoutness — the Blazers entered Wednesday’s game with the worst defensive rating in the league — sure seemed to border on illegality as the Warriors bench as well as Curry himself found themselves wondering where the clear landing space fouls were. The biggest example of this happened late in the first half.

A clear landing space foul is when a defender moves below a shooter, impeding their ability to safely land after taking a shot. The move causes an awkward landing for the offensive player and often leads to injury if the defender encroaches closely enough. It used to be rarely called and even became a staple of sorts for certain defenders who were maligned as “dirty,” like John Stockton or Bruce Bowen. You can see that didn’t really happen in the aforementioned play.

The foul received an uptick in calls following the 2017 postseason after then-Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia injured the ankle of then-Spurs wing Kawhi Leonard during a three-point attempt when Pachulia stepped underneath the San Antonio player. The move knocked Leonard out for that series, shutting any possibility of the Spurs gutting out a playoff upset. You can see how this could be an issue the Warriors are particularly sensitive to given that Curry’s injury-prone tag from earlier in his career came from ankle injuries

It’s ironic, then, that a foul call reignited by a former Warriors player’s unsportsmanlike maneuver hasn’t really been given to a current Warriors star. Here are a couple more examples of such a foul arguably taking place:

Some Warriors fans might be wondering why this issue is coming up now instead of other times that their golden boy was hacked on the court. It’s quite simple: As Curry gets closer to the record, teams are going to likely work very, very hard to stop him from getting it. Case in point: the Blazers suddenly playing harder defensively than they seemingly ever have against the Warriors to make sure they weren’t the team to give up the record — which, again, would have required a record-breaking performance from Curry in itself.

This isn’t to say the physical play against Curry will stop once Ray Allen’s mark of 2,973 made threes gets surpassed, as getting physical with the former MVP is how teams have tried to play him for a lot of his career, but the approach will likely continue to the degree that Portland displayed until Curry enters a game just one or two shy from breaking the record. After Wednesday’s game, he’s still 10 3-pointers away from getting there.