Game story for tomorrow’s paper
INDIANAPOLIS – After the way Golden State played Tuesday without point guard Stephen Curry, getting down by as much as 33 en route to a 102-78 loss at Indiana, the obvious question becomes how long will Curry be out?
“That’s an excuse,”Jacksonsaid regarding impact of Curry’s absence. “We were bad tonight.”
As Curry sat and watched thanks to a sprained right foot, the Warriors set a season-low with 34.1 percent shooting. They totaled more turnovers (16) than assists (15) while failing to score 80 points for just the second time this season.
Golden State didn’t get the big games it needed from its other stars. Guard Monta Ellis finished with 14 points on 7 of 19 shooting with five turnovers and forward David Lee need 11 shots to get 12 points and turned the ball over five times.
The other three starters – forward Dorell Wright, center Andris Biedrins and point guard Charles Jenkins – combined to shoot 1-for-15.
“Just a bad game by all of us, all the way across the board,” Lee said. “Like coach said, if anyone thought they played well tonight, they’re kidding themselves.”
Tuesday suggested the Warriors chances of making a playoff run without Curry. Such leaves the Warriors in a tough spot. Forcing Curry to sit an extended period to rest his right wheel just might doom Golden State to a season-killing losing streak. (That may not be the worst thing to many Warriors fans since the Warriors get to keep their first round pick if they are top seven in the lottery). However, playing Curry could prolong the woes he’s been having with his right heel.
Still, the consensus seems to be that Curry will only need a couple more days. He tried to play Tuesday but in pre-game workouts, he couldn’t fully plant and pivot. He said he will test his foot before Wednesday’s game at Atlanta.
Warriors general manager Larry Riley said the team isn’t yet considering shutting Curry down for an extended period. He said the doctors aren’t recommending such and everyone is encouraged since the deltoid ligament Curry sprained is not the same surgically repaired part of his ankle.
However, Jackson said Curry won’t be playing until his foot is healed.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to use wisdom and make sure he’s 100 percent healthy.”
Curry scoffed at any notion of sitting out an extended period, saying he’ll rest in the offseason. He said the day after the injury, which he sustained in the first quarter of a Feb. 22 win at Phoenix, doctors told him he needed to sit out a week.
He has no plans to sit out much longer than that.
“I am trusting the fact that I’m doing everything I can do,” Curry said. “I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s just an unfortunate situation that something keeps happening.”
It appeared the Warriors could have really used Curry, especially when the game got away from them. Golden State trailed 44-38 late in the second quarter. But Indiana closed the half with an 8-0 run, including three layups, to take a 52-38 lead into the locker room. The Warriors went 0-for-5 with three turnovers over the last 3:15.
It took just over three minutes for the Pacers to put the game away. Golden State gave up a 10-2 run to start the third quarter. During that span of 3:07, the Warriors went 1 for 5 shooting with three turnovers. A putback dunk by Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert gave Indiana a 62-40 lead early in the third.
It only got worse from there as Golden State showed little fight. Jackson said he was disappointed his team let its poor offense carry over to the defensive end.
“Embarrassing,”Jackson said. “We got outworked. We got thoroughly outplayed.”
The timing of Tuesday’s dud probably couldn’t be worse since Golden State was expecting to make a push. The Warriors appeared zapped of all the momentum they’d gained by winning five of eight before the All-Star break, capped with the emotional road win over Phoenix.
Watching his team lose usually gives Curry more of an itch to get back on the court. However, he said he fights the urge to rush back by taking a big-picture perspective.
No, not that perspective, the one that involves losing big, retaining their first-round pick and adding a rookie stud to the mix. No doubt, losing Curry for a significant stretch could help that cause.
But the big-picture perspective Curry is referring to involves him being on the court soon.
“I played 80 games my rookie year and 74 my second year,” Curry said. “I’ve only missed 10 games this year. It’s not like I’m missing half a season because I’m plagued with injuries. In the grand scheme of things, if I miss a couple of games, come back and play well, no one will remember these games.”
* The Warriors poor shooting performance Tuesday is one for the record books. They shot season lows from the field (34.1 percent) and from the 3-point line, where they missed 19 of 22 ( (13.6 percent).
The last time the Warriors shot that poorly from the field was March 27, 2010. They made a third of their shots in a home loss to Dallas. The last time they shot that poorly from 3-point range was Feb. 7, 2011. They went 2-for-18 from deep in a home game vs.Phoenix.
* Certainly, it wasn’t the return Brandon Rush had envisioned, at least the part where his team got run out of the gym. But Rush’s performance showed just why the Warriors are happy they acquired him from the Pacers.
Rush — in his first game back at Indiana, the team that acquired him on draft day in 2008 — finished with 14 points on 6 of 11 shooting with seven rebounds in 36 minutes. The league leader in 3-point percentage made half of his four attempts.
“We’d love to have him back (next year),” Jackson said of Rush, who would become a restricted free agent after this season if Warriors extend qualifying offer. “He’s carved a niche of who he is and how he can be a helpful part of a winning situation.”
Rush said he feels free to play his game with the Warriors. Coming off the bench with Golden State, Rush said he’s not a better player than he was with the Pacers. But he acknowledged his shot is falling at a career pace and he’s doing some of the small things.
He did say, however, he doesn’t have the pressure on him with the Warriors that he experienced in Indiana.
“I’m capitalizing on a great opportunity,” Rush said. “At times (in Indiana) I was starting, then coming off the bench. It was so inconsistent, and my play was inconsistent.”
* With Curry out, Jackson turned back to his rookie point guard and not heavily used reserve guard Nate Robinson.
But Charles Jenkins, who has played sparingly since he started eight straight games back in January, didn’t look to be the same effective floor general.
Jenkins played 18 minutes, missing all five of his shots. He did fill out the stat sheet, recording two rebounds and two assists with a steal, a turnover and a block.
He didn’t look as confident on the floor — which could be expected since he appeared in only seven of the last 16 games, totaling 27 minutes. But Jenkins did all he could to stay ready.
He comes in four hours early before every game to get up shots and prep for game situations. He diligently watches film of each opponent as if he’s starting.
“I just like playing,” Jenkins said. “I like any chance I get to get on the floor, any chance to help the team, whether it’s two minutes or 20.”