Steph Curry vs. Kyrie Irving clutch stats: Andre Iguodala explains why he fears Irving more in tie games

Kyrie Irving’s popularity among his NBA peers cannot be overstated. Often referred to as “your favorite player’s favorite player,” there’s now a case to label Irving as “your favorite player’s former teammate’s favorite player.”

Appearing on the latest episode of “The Ryen Russillo Podcast,” four-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala made a surprisingly bold choice when asked to choose between Irving and Iguodala’s former Warriors teammate, Steph Curry, in the clutch.

“Kyrie Irving — it’s not even close,” Iguodala said when asked who he would be most scared of in a tie game in the playoffs.

“For the last-second shot, I’m going with Kyrie,” Iguodala continued. “You’re talking about fear factor at any given moment or for that moment, I’m going with Kyrie.”

Iguodala supported his choice with a bit of an X’s and O’s breakdown. Considering his extensive history playing alongside Curry and against Irving in high-leverage situations, it came from an extreme place of expertise.

I mean, with Steph, I think he’s shown at least proven to teams that you can double him and if you could just try to get the ball out of his hands, then I guess that’s that’s the way to combat him but with Kyrie, he’s just so good — you can’t get the ball out of his hands. Allen Iverson said Kyrie was the best ballhandler in NBA history and I’ve been told that I was crazy for saying that. But Kyrie, you talk about fear factor? You ask anybody in the league, that’s a scary guy to see.

Concerning Iguodala’s expertise, he and the Warriors were on the wrong end of arguably the biggest shot of Irving’s career — the go-ahead, step-back 3-pointer that broke a tie in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals and put Irving’s Cavs team up for good.

On the ensuing possession, Curry was forced into a tough shot thanks to aggressive pick-and-roll coverage from Irving and Kevin Love.

Iguodala’s rationale certainly goes deeper than a few possessions from one of the more storied games in league history, but the example nearly fits his explanation to a T.

As for the rest of his explanation, some numbers can help you take a side in the argument.

MORE: Five things you forgot about Stephen Curry’s 54-point game at Madison Square Garden

Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving: Career clutch stats

Curry has a career mark of 110-of-291 (37.8 percent) from the field on shots to take the lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime, per Stahead. Irving has a career mark of 68-of-160 (42.5 percent) on such shots.

Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving: Go-ahead shots in game’s final minute
  Stephen Curry Kyrie Irving
FG 110 68
FGA 291 160
FG% 37.8 42.5
3P 53 28
3PA 170 78
3P% 31.2 35.9

The NBA defines clutch time as the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime when the score is within five points. Here is how Curry and Irving’s clutch stats measure up for the 2023-24 season.

Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving: 2023-24 clutch totals
  Stephen Curry Kyrie Irving
PTS 165 49
FG 51 15
FGA 101 27
FG% 50.5 55.6%
3P 28 6
3PA 59 13
3P% 47.5 46.2

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