For the reigning NBA MVP, the Warriors are erring on the side of caution. Other teams traumata might end up having a bigger impact in this playoff series
This may sound strange, but the Golden State Warriors most logical course of action could involve sitting their best player for the remainder of their series against the Houston Rockets. Steph Curry, the reigning MVP, did not play in Monday nights Game 2 after tweaking his ankle in the series opener. While the trauma, at this phase, doesnt seem to be too serious, the Warriors are being super-cautious with their star player. Its hard to blame them, especially since the postseason is only a few days old and there are already signs that some teams wont be able to overcome injuries to key players.
We will definitely err on the side of caution, Kerr said on Monday, if hes not right, then hes not going to play. Its not worth risking turning this into a long-term issue.
Thats why, even though an exploratory MRI on Currys foot showed nothing of concern, the Warriors have listed Curry as questionable for Thursdays Game 3. The Warrior can afford to be patient because, to be frank, they should be able to easily and quickly defeat the Rockets even if Curry doesnt step on special courts again. Playing without Curry on Monday, the Warriors beat Houston 115 -1 06, with the final rating induce the game looking a lot closer than it actually was.
The Rockets are now in an 0-2 pit and have shown utterly no signs of life. If theres any real possibility of Curry injuring himself further, theres no reason to danger it when the upside is sweeping the Rockets rather than beating them in five or six games.
Although Currys ankle tweak has received the most attention, it may not have even been the most significant injury to happen on Saturday. Earlier in the day, the Celtics Avery Bradley went down with a hamstring injury in the middle of what was shaping up to be a dramatic comeback against the Hawks.
Without Bradley, the Celtics fell simply short in Game 1, as the Hawks hung on to win 102 -1 01. The next day, head coach-and-four Brad Stevens announced that it was very unlikely that Bradley would be able to return this series, leaving them without their most valuable defensive player and most reliable three-point threat.
They missed him. On Tuesday night, without Bradley or Kelly Olynyk, who was out with a shoulder trauma, the Celtics scored a mere seven phases in the first quarter of game two, the lowest-scoring first quarter in NBA playoff history. While Bostons defense managed to keep them in video games after that laughable start, the Hawks aimed up winning 89 -7 2. With the Celtics now 0-2, Bradleys hamstring injury could end up being season-ending for the simple fact that Bostons season might only last a couple more games.
Since were speaking of season-ending injuries, lets turn to the sad lawsuit of the Grizzlies who staggered into the postseason despite suffering more casualties than an average Crystal Lake camping expedition. Any opportunity the Grizzlies had of going deep into the playoffs objective when they lost both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Even if fully healthy, the Grizzlies would have had little chance in upsetting the scary good Spurs, but they would at least built them work. Instead, the Spurs blew them out 106 -7 4 in Game 1. Last nights Game 2 was hardly any better, with Memphis eventually losing 94 -6 8.
At least Grizzlies fans knew this series was hopeless heading into the playoffs. Fate might be playing an even more cruel joke on Mavericks fans. On Monday the latter are celebrating Dallass stunning, series-tying win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Tuesday, they received word that Dirk Nowitzki bruised his knee and is now questionable for Thursdays Game 3. Thats not the news you want to hear about your teams most important player, especially when hes 37 years old and the entire team was built around him.
The biggest what if team among those playing without leading player might be the Miami Heat. While the Heat are up 1-0 in their series against the Charlotte Hornets without Chris Bosh, who is out indefinitely because of blood clots, his absence still looms big. With Bosh, one could make the occurrence that the Heat were the Eastern Conference team with the best chance of knocking out the Cleveland Cavaliers. Its difficult to imagine them pulling that off without him.
It feels strange to dismiss the chances of so many teams so early, but, in the NBA postseason, a teams fate is always tied to the health of its starring players. Yes, the present Warriors team is unbelievably talented, and clearly well-coached, but they also have been lucky when it comes to traumata to their key players. Dont expect them to push that luck by putting Curry on special courts any sooner than they have to.
Quote of the week
It kind of feels like playing a scrimmage in practice.
the Golden State Warriors Andre Iguodala on playing the Rocket.
One of the reasons the Warriors can afford to take their day with Curry is that the Rockets are utterly dreadful. The Rockets are already down 0-2 in the series, but theyre playing as if theyve already been eliminated. Maybe Iguodalas almost comical level of contempt here will inspire the Rocket to step up their level of play when the series resumes in Houston, but its just as likely that well insure a disappointed Dwight Howard quasi-intentionally foul out of the game. Yet again.
Video of the week
Sometimes the distinction between winning and losing ends up being scarcely a second. Here we see Steven Adams would-be-game-winning putback for the Thunder being( correctly) waived off by the officials. Had Adams gotten the ball off simply a bit earlier, the Thunder would have a commanding 2-0 series leading over the Mavericks. Instead, Dallas were able to hold on to a 85 -8 4 victory to even the series at 1-1. The bad news for Oklahoma City is that their season-long fourth one-quarter conflicts have carried over into the playoffs. The good news is that theres absolutely no way that Kevin Durant will be limited to seven-for-3 3 shooting again this series.
How did LeBron carry the Cavaliers this week?
The Cavaliers first game of the playoffs wasnt the smoothest of starts as they needed a late rally to defeat the Pistons 106 -1 01. While Kyrie Irving was Clevelands leading scorer with 31 points, James scored 22 and dished out 11 assistances. Of course, if you ask Pistons head coach-and-four Stan Van Gundy, if LeBron was bearing the Cavaliers, he was getting some the assistance of the officials.
A couple calls have upset our guys, Van Gundy said in an in-game interview, theyve got to understand, LeBrons LeBron. Theyre not going to call offensive pollutes on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. Theyve got to understand that.
The NBA objective up fining Van Gundy $25,000 for his comments, which is phenomenally silly. Saying that star players tend to get calls in their favor during the course of its playoffs should be about as controversial as saying that the team that objective up scoring the most points in a game tends to win. In any case, Van Gundy v LeBron seems to be a diverting subplot in a playoff series that may very well end up being brief and uneventful.
Assuming that everyone remains healthy, of course.
Read more: www.theguardian.com