Scott Fowler

Criticize Stephen Curry's defense? His college coach says experts should criticize Harden's as well

Davidson men's basketball coach Bob McKillop (left) has remained close to his former star guard, Stephen Curry. The two are shown in 2015 at Davidson.
Davidson men's basketball coach Bob McKillop (left) has remained close to his former star guard, Stephen Curry. The two are shown in 2015 at Davidson.

Davidson’s Bob McKillop shepherded Steph Curry’s All-American career in college and remains very close to the best player he has ever coached.

McKillop shared some thoughts on Curry’s performance Sunday night, as well as on the Golden State-Houston NBA playoff series and the way Curry is responding to Houston attacking him on defense. Here are some of McKillop's quotes from our interview Monday.

On Curry’s defense

"I thought Steph was sensational on defense Sunday night. You know what drives me crazy? All this talk about his defense. The way Houston is isolating him on every possession, the energy he has to expend on defense is off the charts.

"But why aren’t people talking about James Harden’s defense? It’s a joke that the so-called experts talk about Steph's defense all the time but they don't talk about Harden's defense as well. Harden got embarrassed twice on a single possession Sunday night. I think it’s just that Steph gets so many accolades that people are trying to find things that are wrong with him. He’s still one of the best layup shooters, free-throw shooters and three-point shooters in the league. People say Steph got on track Sunday night? I’m not sure he ever was off track."

Golden State's Stephen Curry (30) dribbles against Houston's James Harden (13) in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals on Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Davidson coach Bob McKillop wonders why so few people talk about Harden playing poor defense and so many accuse Curry of the same. Nhat V. Meyer Bay Area News Group

On whether Curry looks healthy

"Yes, he does. That ability to get by people with a dribble and then stop on a dime — that’s one of his greatest assets. He knows how to attack space, find a little more space and then square up so quickly to get his shot off. That sort of stop-and-go movement — your knee and ankle both have to be in good shape or else you can’t do that."

On Curry’s F-bomb during his 18-point third quarter Sunday night

"I’ve been in his presence a lot, and I have never heard him say that. Never. Not even in a private locker room conversation.

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"But I wouldn’t be surprised that it was because the way he was getting beaten up about his three-point shooting or his ‘not being able to defend,’ that when he responded to all that on the court, that it probably just came out."

On when he will go watch Curry in the playoffs

"I was supposed to go out there on Wednesday, but now I have something here I need to do. So now I’m going to wait until Game 6 — if there is a Game 6 in this series. I hope there isn’t and that Golden State wins it in five. In that case, I will go to one or two games in the NBA championship series."

On when Curry will make another appearance at Davidson

"The NBA All-Star game is in Charlotte in 2019 (on Feb. 17). We are hoping to have a home game on Friday night of that weekend (Feb. 15, 2019) that Steph can come to.

"Every time he comes to a game since he’s been with the Warriors, we have won that game and sold it out, too, so we’d like to keep that going."