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HOUSTON — What’s wrong with Stephen Curry?

Nothing, Curry says.

Nothing, Warriors coach Steve Kerr says.

Nothing, teammate Klay Thompson says.

Something, the stat sheet insists. Curry scored 16 points in Game 2 of the Western Conference championship series — not a trifling total — as the Warriors fell to the Houston Rockets, 127-105. But he was just 1 of 8 on his 3-point attempts. That’s like you or I going 1 for 147. Curry’s inaccuracy wouldn’t ring even a small alarm bell, except that he was 1 for 5 from the arc in Game 1.

Even the greatest pure shooter in basketball history is entitled to an off night. But two in a row? In the biggest series of the NBA season? Something isn’t adding up, and it’s Curry’s 3-point column.

Simply put, when it comes to 3-point shooting, the skill that has defined him, these were the worst consecutive postseason games in Curry’s NBA career. He hit 3 of 15 (20 percent) against the Clippers in the Warriors’ final two games of the 2013 playoffs, before he was STEPH CURRY in all-caps. He hit 4 of 21 (19 percent) in back-to-back games against Memphis in the 2015 second round, and again against Cleveland in the NBA Finals that year. He hit 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) against the Thunder in 2016 and 4 of 18 (22.2 percent) in the last two games of the 2017 NBA Finals, though no one really noticed because Kevin Durant was closing out the Cavaliers for the title.

So Curry has turned in consecutive clunkers before. But 2 of 13 is 15.4 percent, his all-time low.

How are you feeling, I asked the two-time MVP after the game, as he sat before the cameras on a dais next to the media workroom at the Toyota Center.

“I’m feeling great,” Curry said. “Tonight I didn’t find a rhythm early. I had some decent looks early from three that could have changed the momentum of the game early in the first half. But for the most part it was just a frustrating night all around.”

Curry flashed some of that boyish smile as he answered. He didn’t seem at all frustrated, or confused, or irritated. And maybe he is feeling none of those things. But suddenly there is reason for concern.

For the Warriors, the concern is that they have opened a window for the hungry Rockets. Golden State was prone to sleepwalking during the 2017-18 regular season, and had a couple of those somnambulant games in the playoffs — one each against the Spurs and Pelicans. But that was natural, because the Warriors were never really in danger against those second-tier teams.

The Rockets are different. They are the one NBA team that presents a true threat to defending champions. And with a sloppy game that included some halfhearted defense and seven turnovers in the first quarter, the Warriors have given Houston hope.

For Curry, the concern is that his left knee, or his conditioning, or both, aren’t exactly where they should be in the West final. He missed more than a month of action after spraining his MCL on March 23. When he returned for Game 2 of the second-round series against New Orleans, Curry quickly quieted the talk about his injury.

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In four games against the Pelicans, he averaged 24.5 points and connected on 44 percent of his 3-pointers. Curry was back. But now he’s gone again, or is only halfway here.

“I mean, it obviously wasn’t Steph’s best night,” Kerr said. “He struggled 1-for-8 from the 3-point line. Slow start for him. I thought in the second half he got a few things going. I’m not worried about Steph. He’s the kind of competitor and player who will bounce back from a tough night. But it’s just one of those nights.”

Or two, and counting. I followed up with another Curry question, and got a similar answer from Kerr. And then someone else asked the coach how much Curry’s lingering injury was responsible for his performance in Game 2. That was one too many Curry questions for Kerr.

“Thirteen-point-seven percent,” he answered sarcastically.

It wasn’t like Curry was limping around the court Wednesday. He had several athletic drives to the basket against the Rockets. But that doesn’t mean the knee is 100 percent.

The Rockets spent much of the first two games working to isolate their top scorers — Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and, especially, the wondrous James Harden — on Curry, who is the weakest defender among Golden State’s four starters. This was the plan everyone expected. As Curry noted when asked about it Wednesday, “Surprise, surprise.”

It makes sense that playing defense would test Curry’s knee more than dribbling, driving or shooting. On offense, he can choose his movements. On defense, he must follow where Harden and those other guards are taking him. It demands a lot of quick lateral cuts and plants. It can be hard on a person’s knees. And it’s perfectly reasonable to think that defensive workout may have affected Curry’s legs as he launched those 3s.

Curry denied that it all took a physical toll.

“Not if you are just, I guess, one step ahead of it,” he said. “And tonight, I think that was the difference. We were trying to be too cute with our exchanges and our switches and all that stuff instead of just manning up and playing one-on-one defense. … They made a concerted effort to turn those one-on-one situations into a little bit more ball movement, and we were just a step slow, myself included.”

The state of the Curry matters, of course. Durant is so routinely spectacular, especially of late, that it sometimes feels as though he makes the Warriors bulletproof. But Thompson struggled in Game 2, and the Rockets were very good on both ends of the court. This was a game in which the Warriors really could have used Curry. Not easing-back-into-it Steph Curry, but MVP-dropping-threes Steph Curry.

They didn’t get it, and now a small crack has formed in their façade of invincibility.

Curry will be back in his happy place, Oracle Arena, on Sunday, and will have a couple of extra days of rest. But you can bet the Rockets will keep running screens to get Harden and Paul isolated on him. Curry will be tested, physically and psychologically. How will he respond?

“Just play his butt off and have a huge game,” Thompson said. “I expect it every night from him, because he’s that good. And I know he will.”

The Warriors sure hope so. This series is coming back to Houston. If it comes back tied 2-2, and Curry still hasn’t found his shot from outside, it will be a nervous time indeed in the Bay Area.

You can reach columnist Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Skinny_Post

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