The action is heating up in the NBA as we approach the final weeks of the regular season. As exciting as all of this is, there’s a dark cloud hanging over the team that has nothing to do with the weather in the Pacific Northwest.
Thankfully, the Warriors are as well-positioned as anyone to handle a rash of injuries like this. We still have three All Stars, including a couple of guys in Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant who can single-handedly shoot their team to a victory.
Expect a big game from both of those guys, in what is assuredly going to be one of the most challenging games of the season.
Injury report for tonight's game at Portland: Jordan Bell (right ankle sprain), Stephen Curry (tweaked right ankle), Andre Iguodala (left wrist sprain), Patrick McCaw (non-displaced fracture, left wrist) & David West (right arm cyst) are out.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 9, 2018
As Brady Klopfer wrote earlier today, the West is just about as wild as it has ever been. With just four games separating the #3 and #10 seeds, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the final playoff picture won’t emerge until the closing thralls of the season. And unfortunately, the Golden State Warriors are heading into this stormy unknown with a serious rash of injuries - the most alarming of which is Steph Curry’s ankle. While initial reports are as good as can be expected under the circumstances, it’s still tough to see Curry go down again with that troublesome right ankle.
Warriors said that Stephen Curry's right ankle showed no swelling today. So that's an encouraging sign. Warriors will reevaluate Curry on Tuesday— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 9, 2018
Ok, so about those Blazers
The Portland Trailblazers are legitimately good right now.
Portland is on an 8 game win streak and defense is a major reason why. They are 2nd in Defensive Rating since the All Star break at 95.5 .— Tim Roye (@warriorsvox) March 9, 2018
Like the Warriors, the Blazers haven’t lost since the All Star break. Somewhat surprisingly, they are doing it with their defense, where their bevy of wing defenders finally seems to be finding traction.
Warriors rotations to watch
It’s not just Curry, according to my quick math, it looks like the Warriors are going to have to do without approximately 100 minutes of their rotation. Obviously Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook will be manning the point - but we normally expect players like Patrick McCaw and Andre Iguodala to be able to fill in as well. Thankfully, Livingston has been here before. If you’ll recall Livingston shouldered a huge burden during Curry’s two absences in the 2016 playoffs, starting seven games in the first two rounds and handling those starts extremely proficiently.
For the bigs, the loss of Andre Iguodala (who often serves as the 4 or 5 in some of our bench lineups) as well as David West is really going to put a lot of pressure on seldom used players like Kevon Looney and Damian Jones (who was called up for this game).