Warriors can be cautious with Stephen Curry
If there were any doubts about whether the Golden State Warriors needed Stephen Curry to beat the Houston Rockets, they were erased Monday night.
In Game 2 of their best-of-7 series, Golden State came away with a 115-106 victory that was the definition of a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate. The Warriors may not have covered the betting line, but it was an important - and comfortable - win for them, regardless.
The Rockets are such a disjointed mess, the Warriors can take care of them even without the services of the soon-to-be two-time NBA most valuable player. While James Harden put up his usual stats, going for 28 points and 11 assists, his defense was its usual level of awful, and Dwight Howard didn’t get the ball early in the game and became predictably frustrated by it.
But Klay Thompson (34 points) and Draymond Green (12 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists) were outstanding, Shaun Livingston (16 points, six assists) filled in admirably in Curry’s absence and the Warriors will head to Houston with the assumption that, whether Curry plays or not, this series should end in four games.
That doesn’t mean everything is fine with Golden State, though. Coach Steve Kerr dropped worrying hints - at least from an outsider’s perspective - about Curry’s status before and after the game.
“We will definitely err on the side of caution,” Kerr said before the game. “If he’s not right, then he’s not going to play. It’s not worth risking turning this into a long-term issue.”
That was one thing. Then Kerr said this: “There’s plenty of cases in the past where people played through stuff, and it didn’t turn out so well - Grant Hill being the one that always jumps out at me - and whether that’s the same type of thing as this, I don’t really know. But I do know that we have to look after his health because the competitor that he is, he’s going to want to play.”
Anytime anyone brings up Hill - who lost four seasons in the prime of his career to injuries, and never truly recovered from them - that’s a scary thought.
Kerr was asked after the game whether the issue was Curry’s ankle or foot, and said this: “I don’t know. Honestly. It’s both. I mean, I’m not sure I know the difference. It’s the back of his foot, it’s the ankle, it’s something down there.”
In short, no one is going to breathe easy around the Warriors until Curry is back. Given they are playing a team that looks like they’d rather be anywhere but on the court, though, there should be zero thought given to playing Curry again in this series. Let him get healthy and prepare for the second round, because Monday’s game proved getting out of the first will be nothing more than a formality.