Edit: Game of Thrones spoilers at the beginning and end of the first part of this recap. My apologies.
On the popular TV show "Game of Thrones," Jon Snow, one of our most noble heroes, took a big L at the end of the last season when he was murdered by irreverent mutineers.
In Game 4 of the Warrior's series against the Houston Rockets, Stephen Curry too suffered a grave injury. A MCL sprain clouded the Warrior's postseason hopes, his return date unknown. Could the Warriors survive without their MVP?
Today, over two weeks later, Steph returned, to the surprise of many. He was first listed as "doubtful," then upgraded to "questionable," then finally confirmed to play right before the game started. Even so, he began the game on the bench, and when he did enter, started off woefully cold from distance, missing his first eight threes.
The rest of the Warriors didn't exactly provide much help. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes provided nothing early in the game, with only a few threes from Marreese Speights and tough play from Draymond Green keeping the Warriors in the thick of it. Right before halftime, Shaun Livingston was thrown out by referee Scott Foster for arguing over a missed call (more on the officiating later). With only a hobbled Steph and inexperienced combo guard Ian Clark left to play point guard, it seemed bleak for our squad. The Trail Blazer's backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum dissected the defense at times, and Portland offensive boards undid the Warriors at crucial times.
The third and fourth quarters saw some life, as Steph and Klay got into some rhythm. Andre Iguodala and Festus Ezeli proved invaluable off the bench as Portland's scorers went cold. But in the final sprint, both teams found their offensive firepower as the pace quickened. After a flurry of threes and fastbreak opportunities, the dust settled and the game was tied and headed to overtime.
By this time, Stephen Curry had fully eclipsed his medically-advised minute benchmark, due to the tight game and Livingston's absence. The faster pace, though, did bear some hope for the Warriors' offensive flow. Due to Andrew Bogut fouling out, Steve Kerr finally decided to play the Small Ball Death Squad with doses of Festus Ezeli to encourage his team to run up and down the court.
Steph hit some shots early, but the Blazers were able to keep up for a while. Then, the dam burst, and Steph started hitting layups, nailing off-balance threes, and juking his defenders left and right. Stephen Curry was reborn, bathed in the light of the basketball gods, emerging from the rust of the inury. Overcoming the valiant Blazers guards and the inept officials, he enters the annals of NBA history, once again: not only because of a dominant game back from serious injury, but also because he scored the most points in an overtime period ever (17!).
Jon Snow was revived last week on Game of Thrones, ready to take the next step as Westeros' hero and savior, so soon after death. Steph Curry, too, was reincarnated according to the old tales of myth and legend, and we all bear witness.
Blazers need less than 3 minutes to get off to 12-2 start, Kerr wants a TO. 9:15 left in first.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleCSN) May 10, 2016
Warriors down just 8. I'd say that's pretty good considering they started 2-for-15 and shot 28 percent for the quarter— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) May 10, 2016
Shaun Livingston has been ejected after receiving 2 technical fouls in a row while arguing a missed foul call.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 10, 2016
You can tell Steph is rusty still because he’s hitting a lot of rim on these makes.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) May 10, 2016
Steph breaks the record for most points in an overtime— Hugo Kitano (@HugoKitano) May 10, 2016
Draymond Green goes coast to coast https://t.co/opAZo9HlfL— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) May 10, 2016
the net barely moved https://t.co/kJKfpqW7pZ— Becca Laurie, PI (@imbeccable) May 10, 2016
Up top for Ezeli! (TNT) https://t.co/Cp6ACRBPCG— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) May 10, 2016
YACKEM https://t.co/zkuose7gSr— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) May 10, 2016
God Damn this play drawn up in the Warriors huddle a thing of luscious basketball beauty pic.twitter.com/8zPPKRg0KO— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) May 10, 2016
Its been all Steph Curry in OT https://t.co/2M1jcfZYxU— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) May 10, 2016
Almost as if he's the MVP. CHECK that Hop off the dribble. Beautiful rhythm, quickness https://t.co/9WgkmjJVq9— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) May 10, 2016
- Make no mistake: this was an instant classic. Remember this game.
- Usually when the officiating is bad, one can argue that one team was favored over the other, or that too many or not enough fouls were called. This was not one of the games, but it was still the worst I'd seen in a long time. Scott Foster didn't do the game any favors, giving the game no consistency and no flow for most of it.
- Hack-a-big-guy needs to be fixed somehow. It's ugly, slow, and insufferable, and that's enough reason at this point.
- Harrison Barnes continues to be bad, but at least he hit a huge three to send it to overtime. Andrew Bogut has been actually useless this series, with Festus Ezeli and even Mo Speights seeming like better options.
- Speaking of rotations, Steve Kerr has been way too trusting of under-performing players. It could be a minutes-management problem, but they haven't been able to adjust to the Blazers' offensive patterns.
- Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are really Splash Brothers Lite. They'll be good for years to come. I'm very glad, though, that Mason Plumlee is their best big, as Draymond Green has dominated him this series.
Follow Golden State of Mind on Twitter at @unstoppablebaby and Hugo Kitano at @HugoKitano