Stephen Curry’s sore right elbow not limiting him on court

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) A black sleeve protecting his sore right elbow, MVP Stephen Curry insists he’s fine after yet another postseason injury.

Curry banged his right elbow on what he thought was a metal platform after diving into the stands at the 2:54 mark of the first quarter during Wednesday night’s 118-91 Game 2 win over the Thunder. That evened the best-of-seven Western Conference finals at one game apiece as the series shifts to Oklahoma City for Sunday night’s Game 3.

“It’s fine. The swelling went down, so no worries,” he said following Friday’s practice. “It’s sore just because of the impact. The spot it’s at doesn’t affect the range of motion, so I can shoot and dribble and do all I need to do. It’s uncomfortable but not necessarily pain. … It’s nice to have three days in between to get your body right.”

Curry said after the game the elbow was so swollen “it looks like it has a tennis ball on top of it.”

Yet Curry had plenty left, scoring 15 straight points in less than 2 minutes during a third-quarter frenzy on his way to 28 points. He made 5 of 8 3-pointers and shot 9 for 15 overall.

“It’s fine. Nothing wrong,” coach Steve Kerr said. “There doesn’t appear to be any swelling.”

Curry has watched the replay of his plunge, and still seems quite surprised nobody tried to catch him, and one fan clicked a photo.

“I saw it once. Not a lot of help, that’s all I’ll say,” he said, noting the front row, “they’re the first responders. It’s kind of coming at them pretty quick. The row behind … I wanted to do a crowd surfing kind of deal. They weren’t ready.”

After already losing their superstar point guard for parts of the first two rounds because of ankle and knee injuries, nobody wants him hurt again.

Some teammates and others in the organization have suggested Curry not repeat that frightening dive, and it did take him a while to get up – silencing Oracle Arena.

“For the most part other than split decisions you don’t really weigh the options or the risks when you’re chasing a loose ball,” he said. “Obviously I would rather stay on the floor as much as possible. It’s kind of dangerous but I don’t know how you can play hard and do what you need to do in those situations, 50-50 balls, with any doubt in your mind, `all right, protect yourself,’ especially in a playoff situation.”

Thunder star Kevin Durant thought the MVP did all he could once it was clear he was going into the seats.

“It’s kind of a weird thing because you don’t want to fall on the fans, but you don’t want to fall straight to the ground. So he did a good job protecting himself,” Durant said. “I thought he didn’t have to jump over. I thought he could have leaned into the fans in the front row. But it looks good when you jump over. I understand that.”

AP Sports Writer Cliff Brunt in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.