Grant Williams

Grant Williams reveals why Steph Curry is ‘most impactful' player in NBA

Williams reflects on the 2022 NBA Finals and his appreciation for the Warriors star.

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Grant Williams played against Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry several times during his four seasons as a Boston Celtics player.

The most notable matchups, of course, came in the 2022 NBA Finals. The Celtics were up 2-1 in the series and had a 94-90 lead with 4:56 remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 4 at TD Garden. Boston had a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead -- an advantage that only one team has ever overcome to win the Finals.

But over the last five minutes of that Game 4, the Warriors outscored the Celtics 17-3, and Curry had 10 of those points during that stretch. He finished 43 points in what ultimately became one of his legacy games.

"We get to the Finals and we're up 2-1. We're like, 'Oh, we got it. It's our time. We're about to go get it," Williams said on a recent episode of the "Tidal League" podcast. "Game 4 we're leading the entire way. We're like, 'We get 3-1, we might go back to Golden State and win this.' That man (Curry) was different. Different. It's like one of those things where I look back on it and realize he's tough."

Williams watched all of Curry's NBA Finals games against the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2015 through 2018. So, like the rest of us, he knew Curry was an incredible player. Still, Williams had an even greater appreciation for Curry after playing against him on basketball's grandest stage.

"I grew up in Charlotte. I grew up watching -- I went to college and I watched the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers series," Williams said. "... I remember watching (the Warriors-Cavaliers series) and he was absurd to watch then, and then I played against him and I was like, 'He's different, bro.' I learned to appreciate him then."

The challenge in defending Curry is two-fold, as Williams puts it. He's tough enough to guard when he has the ball. The real difficulty comes when he's off the ball, though.

"This is what I've learned. [Kevin Durant] is the hardest person to guard in the league by far, in my eyes, but Steph Curry is the most impactful player on a team in the league," Williams said. "You have to guard him as well on the ball as you do off. Once he gets off the ball, you're probably more scared of him off the ball than you are on."

Williams joined the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month as a restricted free agent. By moving to the Western Conference, he'll see even more of Curry and the Warriors than he did in Boston.

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