Stephen Curry ‘optimistic’ he’ll be ready to play in Game 4 despite ankle injury

8 Comments

Stephen Curry suffered a sprained left ankle late in the fourth quarter of his team’s Game 3 loss to the Spurs. It wasn’t severe enough to immediately force him out of the game, but he was noticeably limping, both on the court and in the tunnels of the arena afterward.

Curry didn’t speak to reporters following the game, and opted to begin treatment on the ankle in preparation for Sunday’s Game 4, which has a 12:30 p.m. local start time.

The team made Curry available to a pool reporter on Saturday as he continued with his treatment. While he ultimately said he’d need to see how he feels Sunday morning and remains a game-time decision, Curry is optimistic that he’ll be able to play, at least in a limited capacity.

From Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times:

If you could gage it, you think you’ll be able to play?

I think so. You never really know how it’s going to feel the next day. You just keep with the treatment. Same ol’ story. I have the same answers. I hope it feels good enough to go tomorrow. But until I wake up tomorrow and see, you just hope for the best right now.

Will you be limited or play the same way?

If I can give the team anything, I will play. I feel like if I can get to a point where I’m not hobbling and I can cut how I want to. It doesn’t gave to be 100 percent, as long as I can be confident that it won’t do any further damage. I have a feeling I’ll be at that point tomorrow, no problem.

While it’s admirable that Curry will try to go as long as he feels he can contribute something, a hobbled version of the sharpshooter may do the Warriors more harm than good — especially considering his recent poor shooting.

The Spurs adjusted to Curry’s hot start to the series by guarding him with Danny Green, whose length and athleticism has caused Curry to struggle. Curry was 5-of-17 from the field in Game 3, and was just 3-of-11 from the field during the second half of Game 2.

Trying to lose Green around multiple screens on a bad wheel wouldn’t seem to bode well for Curry increasing his shooting percentage in Game 4, depending on just how limiting the injury tuns out to be. Either way, it looks like he’s planning on giving it a shot on Sunday.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Leave a comment

James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.

Video Breakdown: Rockets launch Eric Gordon from 3-point range against Thunder in Game 4

Leave a comment

The Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, 113-109, and now the series heads back to Texas with the Rockets in the lead, 3-1.

Houston and OKC played a weird game, with Nene scoring 28 points off the bench for the Rockets and serious mischief in the final moments. The end of the game included a purposely missed free throw by Steven Adams that allowed Russell Westbrook to grab a quick 3-pointer and a missed call when James Harden shoved Alex Abrines out of the way like an NFL tackle.

While the Rockets didn’t shoot a stellar percentage from 3-point range — just 31.5 percent — they still knocked down 11 buckets from deep. Part of that action was a play run for Sixth Man of the Year candidate Eric Gordon that included a little semi-Pistol action, and a stagger screen that allowed Gordon to work his way free.

I picked this play to go over this week because it exemplifies just how committed to the 3-point shot the Rockets are. Plus, Gordon ran around three screens just to get this one bucket, which is always fun to see.

Watch the full video breakdown above.

Jimmy Butler on Marcus Smart dustup: ‘He’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down’

Leave a comment

Marcus Smart and Jimmy Butler had to be separated during the Celtics’ Game 4 win over the Bulls after Smart pushed Butler, who was hounding him defensively in the backcourt.

Butler:

As far as the Marcus Smart situation goes, he’s a great actor. Acting tough, that’s what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that, and I’m the wrong guy to get in my face. So, he needs to take it somewhere else because I’m not the one for that.

Was that their first run-in? Butler:

That’s the first time. Last time, too. We’re not going to sit here and get in each other’s faces like that. Like I said, he’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down.

The Bulls, who’ve lost two straight to allow Boston to tie the series 2-2, is angling for any edge. Butler tried to intimidate Smart on the court, and the Chicago wing might actually rattle the too easily shakable Smart with his postgame comments.

The irony: Some might say Butler, who did come up hard, lost touch with his roots as he entered stardom. I don’t buy that, at least not majorly.

But even if both – or neither – are posturing to any degree, this will be a matchup to watch in Game 5.

Remembering former NBA official Jess Kersey, who passed away Saturday

Leave a comment

Jess Kersey, who officiated more than 2,200 NBA games, including being part of 19 NBA Finals, passed away over the weekend, losing his battle with cancer at age 76.

Kersey was a well-respected official who feared nothing. Maybe the most remembered image of Kersey is him trying to break up a fight between Mitch Kupchak and Hakeem Olajuwon, essentially trying to tackle Olajuwon with his head in Olajuwon’s chest and his arms wrapped around him. Kersey got in the middle of everything if that was what was required.

Our thoughts go out to the Kersey family for their loss.