Pacific Notes: Craig, Murray, Vanderbilt, Curry, Warriors

Suns swingman Torrey Craig unpacked how his team has been approaching its defense of his former Nuggets teammate Jamal Murray in the two teams’ ongoing playoff series, Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic writes.

“Jamal’s a skilled player, man,” Craig remarked. “He’s really crafty with different finishes, and his jumpshot and his ability to get to the rim and mid-range and 3s… Just be physical with him. Crowd him. Don’t let him get to his spots easy because he’s one of those guys if let him get in the groove, he can get it going.”

Thus far in the series, Murray is averaging 25.3 PPG on .426/.280/.917 shooting splits, along with 7.3 APG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.0 SPG. Denver leads 2-1.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Versatile Lakers power forward Jarred Vanderbilt has thus far seemed up for the challenge of defending Warriors All-Star point guard Stephen Curry in their playoff series matchup, writes Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “He’s a tough cover,” Vanderbilt said of Curry. “We have a lot of bodies to throw at him. Starting with me, Dennis (Schröder), I think everyone did a great job of chasing him around kind of wearing him down and making it hard for him… That is my calling on the team. I like those matchups. Those challenges. That is what I’m here to do,”
  • The Warriors, trailing the lower-seeded Lakers 2-1 in their second-round playoff series, are striving to figure out how to improve, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “You got to be more poised than we were,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s easier in a regular season to respond to a tough stretch. Everything is magnified in the playoffs. So a tough stretch can turn into a longer stretch … we let our foot off the gas and the Lakers took advantage of that.”
  • Following a 127-97 blowout loss to Los Angeles on Saturday, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic wonders if the Warriors‘ inconsistency this season could be coming back to haunt them in these playoffs for good. Kawakami believes that Golden State is still capable of greatness, but points the team’s lackluster 11-30 road record as an indicator that it has had its struggles this year.
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