American Century

Steph reveals impact Warriors' early playoff exit had on ACC win

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Over the last decade or so, Warriors superstar Steph Curry has been used to playing basketball well into June.

The four-time champion has made nine playoff appearances throughout his career, including six trips to the NBA Finals. This last season, though, Curry and the Warriors barely made it into May as their season ended with a second-round postseason exit.

While disappointing for the 3-point king, Curry was left with some extra time to focus on another one of his passions: Golf. After winning his first American Century Championship on Sunday, the basketball phenom explained how he made use of the time to better prepare for the golf competition.

"It obviously helped," Curry told reporters after the big win. "It's the consolation prize for getting beat in the playoffs. I think I played -- I had like four extra weeks. So, I probably played 10, 12 extra rounds.

"I said it, I think, the other day. It's all about continuing to find ways to enjoy the game a little bit more, get a little bit better. Just kind of stacking those blocks on top of each other. I've been on that, quote/unquote, serious journey for three or four years now, just trying to find a way to get better at the game, knowing that this was something I knew I had the skill set to do, but you've just got to go out and do it."

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated Golden State in six games as the best-of-seven series ended May 12. That gave Curry about two months to prepare for the golf tournament -- about a month longer than if the Warriors had made it to the 2023 NBA Finals, which ended around mid-June.

With those extra four weeks, Curry explained how the additional preparation helped him go from not being in a standing to winning it all.

"The thing is I finished tied for fourth twice. When you get -- I had a couple of great Sunday rounds that we call the backdoor top-five finish, going real low 17 groups ahead of the final group," Curry said. "So, I knew like, again, if I could just get off to a good start, that I could give myself a chance, then you just take it from there. I've always struggled out the gate and gotten better as the tournament goes on. So, the 27 points on Friday like just gave me a newfound confidence.

"I didn't do anything different other than just play a little bit more. You can beat balls on the range and work on mechanics and all that type of stuff, but you have to play to make it work and make it useful. So, playing those extra 10 rounds definitely gave me a little bit more confidence and a little bit more rhythm coming into it. All of that stuff is just muscle memory. Same way on the court.

"It doesn't matter what the situation is, it's muscle memory shooting. When you're in the ACC, you know you've got to try to hit a good tee shot. Then you know you've got to try to hit a good approach shot. Then you know your routine on the green. All that stuff is just muscle memory, and it definitely helped."

After winning the title, Curry gave a shoutout to his wife Ayesha for allowing him to get some reps in even while they were on vacation.

It clearly all paid off for the two-sport athlete, who now has yet another trophy to add to the case.

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