The Golden State Warriors didn’t necessarily need Steph Curry to get by Houston and Portland in the first and second rounds of the NBA playoffs. Indeed, the Warriors won each series in five games without much resistance from either opponent, especially the Rockets.
However, the Western Conference Finals – as evidenced by Oklahoma City’s 108-102 win Monday – will be a different story. Curry scored a team-high 26 points in Game 1, but he needed 22 shots to get there. He also played 40 minutes – something he hadn’t done since April 5.
So, how’s that knee feeling heading into Game 2?
“Well, what he says is that his knee hasn’t gotten a lot better since he came back but it hasn’t gotten a lot worse either,” Warriors President and CEO Rick Welts said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He doesn’t feel that there’s any issue with his mobility, but listen, it’s getting monitored by the best in the business right now. An awful lot of our success is going to depend upon how that knee feels.”
When Curry returned last series and dropped 40 on Portland, followed by 29 in the clincher, many assumed the unanimous MVP was back to his old self.
Well, not quite.
“I think he’s been a bit cautious,” Welts said. “In the last game, I think there were a couple of times I would have expected the ball to go up that it resulted in a pass. But we’re playing an incredibly good defensive team. He’s obviously the focus of their attention when we have the ball, so he’s got his work cut out for him. But that’s worked pretty well for him the last couple of years.”
Golden State, which entered the Western Conference Finals at 81-11 on the season, certainly didn’t expect to lose Game 1. After all, the Warriors were 45-2 at home and 37-0 when leading by double digits at halftime.
They are now 45-3 and 37-1, respectively, in those categories.
“It’s a little different than what we’ve experienced this year,” Welts said of the surprising Game 1 result. “This team has not lost two consecutive games this season. First time that’s ever happened in NBA history, so we’re hoping that trend continues. We were down a game in two of the series in our playoffs last year that resulted in (a championship). So we’ve been there before, but tonight would be a good night to get it done.”
Tip-off from ORACLE is slated for 9 p.m. ET.