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Warriors news: Stephen Curry ready for Kings game, Harrison Barnes doubtful, Leandro Barbosa out

We look back on Christmas week with updates on injuries to Leando Barbosa (out), Harrison Barnes (doubtful), Stephen Curry (probable), and take one last look at the highly-rated game between the Warriors and Cavs.

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

First, a shout out to GSoM user CurryUpOffense for posting a FanShot with the injury update for the Warriors' game tonight against the Kings.

But let's kick off the final week of 2015 with some details on those injuries.

  • We could probably debate whether Stephen Curry should play in tonight's game against the Sacramento Kings given that he missed part of Friday's game with a calf injury that he originally suffered last Wednesday against the Utah Jazz, but as of yesterday he was practicing and ready to play, according to Rusty Simmons of the S.F. Chronicle.

  • We also know for sure that Leandro Barbosa will definitely be out after leaving Friday's game against the Cavs with a shoulder injury.

  • Harrison Barnes, however, is still listed as doubtful as he continues to recover from that nagging ankle injury — using the same logic as what was said above about Curry sitting, I'm not sure I see much purpose in playing someone at less than 100% against a sub-.500 team.

Brandon Rush's emergence

Something that I still think hasn't been talked about enough is the performance of Brandon Rush in place of Barnes. He's currently shooting a career-high 48% from the 3-point line — although he only has 50 attempts as of today and has played in only 315 minutes, his 59.5% 3-point rate is also career-high meaning he's shooting threes more often than he has at any point in his career.

Gotta give Basketball Jonez a shout out for refusing to give up on Rush before the season, but I also want to make sure to highlight others who acknowledge his performance.

  • Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group had a great line about Rush, even though it was really more evidence that Curry is the best in the game.

    Curry is doing what LeBron once did. As one Western Conference executive said: "All you have to do is look at Brandon Rush."

    Rush is experiencing a resurrection since replacing injured Harrison Barnes in the starting lineup. Rush's true shooting percentage -- which takes into account 3-pointers, 2-pointers and free throws -- is 37 percent this season coming off the bench. Since he has joined the starting lineup, it's 71.2 percent.

    "Coming off the bench, he wasn't very good," the executive said. "Put him in the lineup with Curry, all of a sudden he is a productive player. He's getting wide open shots."

    That's the Curry effect.

  • Sam Amick of USA Today did an outstanding job of detailing the ways in which the Warriors have underperformed in recent games, including this tidbit about Rush: "...while veteran Brandon Rush has filled in nicely – especially for a 30-year-old who has torn his ACL twice and already played more minutes this season than he did in 2014-15 – there’s simply no way he can replicate the kind of two-way impact Barnes had been having in that opening month." Amick goes on to rightfully note that Barnes' absence probably really has created the argument for whatever contract he gets this offseason.

Warriors vs. Cavs reactions

Of course there were a ton of reactions to the Warriors-Cavs game, before and after it actually happened. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

  • One of the best reads about Friday's game was ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz's article about LeBron's preparation for and experience of the big game as the NBA's elder statesman, which included this gem of a conclusion: "It's a struggle to imagine that this picture of strength also harbors human frailty, and if it's hard for us, imagine what it must be for him. Over the course of any career, youthful exuberance mellows and talent grows into itself. Who knows exactly when that happened for LeBron...The emergence of Stephen Curry as NBA supernova might have been that moment, as his ascent pushes LeBron into a position of seniority. And with that comes LeBron's first brush with basketball mortality."
  • Arnovitz also wrote, "...After this moment, LeBron is 0-for-9 when guarded one-on-one by Steph"... who is the clear front-runner for DPoY (he must've just forgotten the DPoY part).

  • Like Ethan Strauss said in response to Dave McMenamin's article about the Cavs feeling they found the antidote to the Warriors, I find it interesting that the Cavs made such a big deal of playing well when the Warriors entered the game without Barnes, Barbosa went down during the game, and Curry missed a part of the game with a calf injury. Shouldn't it be the Warriors leaving this game heartened?

  • Adam Lauridsen of the San Jose Mercury News' Fast Break blog had the perfect retort to the notion that the Cavs, who have now lost five of their last seven games to the Warriors dating back to the Finals, have figured something out. One excerpt (ok, I'm using this because he mentioned Rush): "The Warriors made James look human — Rush's poke-away steal, Iguodala's strip on a lay-up, Green's masterful block that was so perfectly timed that the refs (wrongly) assumed it must have been a foul — and being a mere mortal doesn't seem to sit well with the King. James was gracious in defeat — personally congratulating all the Warriors after the final buzzer — but he's clearly frustrated. If the road to an NBA championship goes through Oakland, the Cavs still don't have a map to victory."

Warriors vs. Cavs draws big ratings

While a fan at the arena drew some negative attention, fans at home gave the game plenty of positive attention. As we discussed in lat week's podcast, this probably wasn't going to be the most watched regular season NBA game in history given the Kobe-Shaq reunion game in 2004. But, it still ranted pretty highly.

  • Paulsen of Sports Media Watch noted that, "..the Warriors' win earned the NBA's fifth-highest regular season overnight since Bulls/Knicks in March 1998 (8.0)." Consider the company that puts the Warriors in though: that Bulls/Knicks game was assumed to be Michael Jordan's final game at Madison Square Garden. As for the other four games that have drawn bigger audiences since? Take a look at Paulsen's graph: they've all been Lakers game, which obviously draw upon one of the biggest media markets on the planet. For the Warriors to even be the fifth-highest rated regular season game in almost 20 years is extremely impressive.
  • Rick Kissell of Variety Magazine noted, along with Paulsen, that the game set records in both the Bay Area and Cleveland for local viewership of a NBA regular season game. Kissell also noted that the game set a record for streams with, "...a total of 34 million minutes, according to ESPN. The marquee Cleveland-Golden State contest generated 11 million total minutes streamed, the most ever for a Christmas Day game and more than every Christmas game on ABC and ESPN combined in 2014."

Athletes and social responsibility

We already talked about Steph Curry's involvement in the NBA's anti-gun violence campaign, but other Warriors have joined in the discussion as well.

  • Draymond Green, not known for being quiet, also shared his thoughts about gun violence and the importance of raising awareness about the problem.

Random multimedia things from the last week

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