Strange as it sounds with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line, Stephen Curry admitted there's still a part of him that is quietly rooting for his brother. He's not the only one. Seth Curry, after all, hasn't made his way to these Western Conference finals on the charmed path Steph has walked. There are no MVP trophies on his mantle. No NBA championships on his resume. Seth, in fact, wasn't even drafted. He was waived by five different teams.
Now here he is, squaring off against big bro, who just so happens to be one of the greatest basketball players to ever live, and more than pulling his weight for a Trail Blazers team that is relying on him heavily. Seth had 16 points in Portland's Game 2 loss Thursday night. He was a game-high -- for both teams -- plus-13 in his 29 minutes. He hit what could've been the game-winning shot, a 3-pointer to put Portland up two with a minute to play.
CLUTCH TIME CURRY.— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 17, 2019
It’s that man Seth rocking out in crunch time. (via @nbatv) pic.twitter.com/PQ2QYLJuLF
Seth also had four steals.
All against Steph.
Seth snatched Steph's cookies— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) May 17, 2019
(via @trailblazers) pic.twitter.com/0aXLxdSs1Y
Steph, of course, made a few plays of his own, finishing with 37 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. The 53 points Steph and Seth combined for were the second-most ever by brothers in an NBA postseason game, with Bernard and Albert King going for 57 back in 1983. But that was in the first round. Seth and Steph are the first brothers in league history to match up in the conference finals. And it's driving their parents crazy.
Dell Curry, who played 16 years in the NBA, and his wife, Sonya, are each wearing a jersey in the stands that has one son's team and number on the front and the other son's name and number on the back. They look like a nervous wreck on TV. But Steph kept things in proper perspective in his post-game interview, reminding ESPN's Doris Burke that these are good problems to have, with two of your children playing the NBA, let alone at this level. "They're blessed," Steph said.
"As parents, what more can you ask for?" Draymond Green said at his postgame press conference. "I mean, Sonya's amazing and I love her, but Dell, as a father who's played in the NBA, that's a completely different thing. And then obviously, we all know a mother's love is like no other. You can see the video on TV, Seth hit the 3 and Dell's standing there like this (hands on his head) just smiling, and Sonya is going crazy. I can only imagine what that feels like. And then [Steph and Seth], too. They grew up playing against each other their whole life. Whether it's video games or in the backyard playing one on one, whatever that is, as a brother, I've got a big brother, you compete your entire life. And to be on this stage, it don't get much better than that.
"Being on the outside looking in, I really don't give a damn," Draymond continued. "I hope Seth miss every shot and gets destroyed by Steph. So, yeah, [Seth] had too good of a game tonight for my liking. But he was definitely amazing."
"It worked out perfectly," Steph told reporters after the game. "[Seth] played well and we won."
So much of what these professional athletes do is about earning respect, and Seth has earned that in spades, not just with what he did in Game 2, or what he's done this season with Portland, but with the way he's fought for every inch he's gained against the best basketball players in the world.
"Give him credit. He did it the hard way," a league scout recently told CBS Sports. "That's a tough track, bouncing around training camps, not really sticking anywhere, up and down in the D-league. He's a competitor, that's for sure. He's definitely earned his way."
As for the brothers themselves, people are going to make this a romantic thing and talk about the love they have for one another and all that, and surely that's true. But at this level, on this stage, it's about respect as competitors. And that feeling is mutual. Listen to Steph talk about the "winning plays" Seth made and how the Blazers trusted him with the most important minutes of their season.
"It was like back in Charlotte. ... This will probably be one we'll have the film clip at home."— ESPN (@espn) May 17, 2019
The Game 2 battle between Steph and Seth is staying in the Curry archives 💪 pic.twitter.com/MZcy72zc2H
"[There] wasn't too much chatter [between us]," Seth said after the game. "[We were] both locked in and trying to win the game. It's not a regular-season game, there's a lot of stuff on the line and we're just competing. ... I feel like [Steph] was thinking about where I was at. I was trying to make it tough on him. Like I say, he's going to do what he does, but if you make him work a little more it gives us a chance to win."
The Blazers had their chance, indeed. They couldn't get it done, in large part because big brother was, once again, simply too much. Portland goes home trailing 0-2 in the series, with the knowledge that teams that go down 0-2 go on to lose the series 93 percent of the time. Seth is experiencing first-hand what the rest of the basketball world has been dealing with for years. Steph is tough to beat, whether in the backyard or the conference finals.