OAKLAND — It happened late in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 114-101 win against the Brooklyn Nets.
Jordan Bell, the Warriors’ rookie backup center, jumped for a rebound and landed on Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s foot. Bell’s right ankle buckled. He fell to the court, stayed down and pounded the wood with his fists.
“‘F---,’” Bell said in the locker room. “That’s all I was thinking.”
Bell left the game and did not return. His X-rays were negative. The Warriors called his injury a “mild ankle sprain.”
“He doesn’t think it’s serious,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “He feels like he’s going to be fine. We’ll take it day by day.
“I didn’t see the play that he got injured on, but I don’t think he can adapt his play to try to avoid injury. It doesn’t work that way. He’s just got to play. He was healthy in his college career. It’s just kind of a random deal.”
Bell sprained his other ankle on Jan. 17, and that injury caused him to miss the next 14 games. It’s unclear how many games his newest ankle sprain will cost him, but the Warriors are counting on him to be a factor in the playoffs.
Bell isn’t the only player on the Warriors with an ankle issue. Tuesday night, Stephen Curry played his first game since rolling his ankle last Friday against the Atlanta Hawks. Against the Nets, Curry finished with 34 points and made six of 12 3-points shots.
His ankle seemed OK.
“Steph went nuts,” Kerr said. “We didn’t get much going other than Steph on the high screens. It wasn’t a great night for us offensively.”
With Tuesday’s win, the Warriors improved their record to 50-14. They now have won at least 50 games five seasons in a row.
“The Warriors went almost two decades of not much success,” Kerr said, “Only one playoff appearance in (18) years. So, we do appreciate it, but we don’t talk about it a whole lot.”
Since the All-Star break, the Warriors’ record is perfect — 6-0. And in each of those games, their starting center has been JaVale McGee.
Their record this season when he starts is 10-0.
“We’re getting some good things from JaVale in terms of the energy and the athleticism and the ability to catch the lob,” Kerr said before the game. “We’re doing a lot better (early in games). The numbers are good defensively and we’re taking care of the ball. I think, more than anything, it’s attention to detail and focus.”
But the Warriors lost their focus early Tuesday night. They fell behind 14-10 with McGee in the game as they turned the ball over three times.
With 5:43 remaining in the first quarter, Kerr replaced McGee and Draymond Green with Bell and Andre Iguodala. And the Warriors went on a 25-0 run — their longest run since Kerr became their head coach in 2014. Bell scored five of those 25 points. He also grabbed a rebound and blocked a shot.
Curry made four of six shots and scored 13 points in the first quarter. When it ended, the Warriors led 35-19.