In what promises to be an exhilarating matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors tonight on ESPN, Lonzo Ball will have his hands full. The lengthy Bulls' guard will be tasked with guarding two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
Curry has been on an absolute tear in 2021. The seven-time All-Star is once again putting up MVP-like numbers.
While Ball doesn't average the numbers Curry does, he's still been extremely valuable to the Bulls this season. Ball plays tenacious on-ball defense and has a knack for stealing the ball (1.6 SPG). The 24-year-old was extremely impressive in his last outing, draining seven threes on 10 attempts against the Dallas Mavericks. He also dished out six assists, grabbed six boards, and added a steal with no turnovers.
Now, Curry is obviously an elite-level player. There is no arguing that. He's a two-time MVP for a reason. For the Bulls to have a chance to win Friday, they need to do what they can to slow Curry down.
Curry and Ball have gone head-to-head a total of five times. In those contests, Curry has averaged 29.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 6.6 APG while shooting 38% from the field and 45% from downtown. In a nutshell, Curry is going to get his. Ball just needs to make it hard on him.
To this point in his career, Ball averages 14.6 PPG, 7.0 APG, and 4.4 RPG against Curry. He's shot 36% from the field and 35% from downtown against the Warriors' star guard. Those averages aren't great, but Ball posted a career-high in points the last time these two matched up. That 33-point performance occurred on May 4, 2021, when Ball was still with the New Orleans Pelicans. Curry went off in that game as well, but if Ball can be effective on both ends of the court tonight, the Bulls will have a better chance at bringing home a win.
As previously alluded to, there is no "stopping" Steph Curry. You can only hope to contain him. Ball has enjoyed major success so far in the young 2021 NBA season. Matching up with Curry will be a tough task for the young guard, but it will definitely be worth the watch.