The Golden State Warriors are facing the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs tonight at 7:30 p.m. PST.
And the question of whether superstar Stephen Curry will play has probably been weighing on the minds of Warriors' fans a lot more heavily than whether the Warriors will take this one against the Rockets.
Well, after giving it a go during warmups today, Curry determined that he wouldn't be able to go relatively quickly.
Injury update: Stephen Curry (right ankle) is out for tonight's game vs. Houston.— GSWStats (@gswstats) April 19, 2016
Steph Curry did not participate in shootaround, he's currently getting treatment on his ankle. Still questionable for tonight— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) April 18, 2016
Oof. Looks like the last shot attempt is where he really felt that dreaded twinge. https://t.co/tKX1HF8oNU— Jim Park (@SheridanBlog) April 19, 2016
Steph Curry leaves the floor somewhat abruptly. The fact that he punched the ball on his way out probably isn't a great sign for GS.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 19, 2016
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reported that Klay Thompson has been "preparing as if he's not going to play" and has good reason to believe that the Warriors can win without Curry:
We’ve got so many great play-makers and scorers on this team; even without Steph, we can do it as a team.
We’ve played this team already without him earlier on New Year’s Eve, so we know what we’ve got to do as far as just moving the ball and not settling and just trying to leave it all on the floor.
Obviously, there will still be people worried about whether the Warriors can beat Houston without Curry — months have passed since New Year's Eve and things obviously change. But ESPN's Ethan Strauss did a good job of describing exactly why that game could be a blueprint for victory tonight.
In that game, Draymond Green was the fulcrum of the offense, racking up 16 assists (Klay Thompson wasn't half bad either, scoring 38 points). A good example from the first quarter of that game: Green shovels a pass to Thompson, and then screens his defender, James Harden. Harden switches onto Green as the forward spins into the high post. Shaun Livingston cuts behind a distracted Trevor Ariza for the easy layup.
The offensive attack against Houston seemed to be informed by the Rockets' well-known lapses. The Warriors repeatedly entered the ball (to Green or Livingston) and attempted to cut behind snoozing Rockets.
Bear in mind, not only did the Warriors win that game without Curry in Houston, but they were also without Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli (and the irreplaceable Jason Thompson).
Who's to say a highly motivated playoff Warriors can't win at home while missing Curry?
And if they do win, Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group did a good job laying out a fringe benefit of doing so without their 2016 MVP candidate:
The last thing the Warriors need is another tweak on an 80 percent ankle, turning this into a thing. And the next time he sprains it, they may not have the luxury of facing a team they can handle without him....But if the Warriors really want to break Houston's spirit and stamp out any fight the Rockets might have to save their drama-filled season, they can beat the Rockets in Game 2 without Curry.
Believe it or not, that makes me more excited to watch this game than less — the Warriors can take the Rockets' heart tonight (or whatever heart is left within them at this point) and it will make a win all the more enjoyable.
With Steph Curry out, the Warriors will...
This poll is closed
...play a game that comes down to the wire.
...try their best! I can't predict the outcome...
....I DON'T KNOW. I'M TOO WORRIED TO THINK!