When the pregame stuff settled and all his attention turned to the court, coach Mark Jackson noticed something that had him shaking his head. Unbeknownst to him, point guard Stephen Curry had taken off the brace protecting his sprained left ankle.
MARK JACKSON: “I’ve learned very early, he’s very slick with his. So he picks and chooses the time in which he thinks I’m not looking. So when I found out, he was already running up and down the court.”
Clearly, Curry was fine.
He’s not 100 percent. But the unofficial ankle expert was able to manage his latest ankle injury. He said he did not receive a pain-killing injection. Instead he decided to just play through the pain. He wound up being a pain for the Nuggets.
He finished with 29 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and two steals in 38 minutes. His ankle looked especially fine late as he drove to the basket multiple times.
CURRY: “It’s just a weird feeling. I have to get used to wearing it on my left (foot).”
Jackson said he kept a sharper eye on Curry’s left ankle. Curry said he thought his ankle had enough support from the 100 pounds of tape wrapping his left ankle. The brace on top made it too bulky, he said. He didn’t spend as much time off the ball, unable to cut as hard off screens to get open. But with the ball in his hands, Curry aptly managed the tempo of the Warriors offense, which fluctuated between walking it up and pushing it in transition.
Down the stretch, Curry aggressively attacked the rim. He dropped in back-to-back tear-drops driving down the line, the latter a George Gervin-esque finger roll. With just over a minute left, Curry rebounded the missed jumper of Nuggets guard Ty Lawson and went coast-to-coast straight to the rim.
He missed the finger roll, he said, because he expected to Denver forward Wilson Chandler to go for the block. In hindsight, he said he should have went with his first intentions.
“Was I high enough to dunk it?” Curry said after the game. When his teammate said yes, he slapped his hand against his thigh in playful frustration. “Dang it! A missed opportunity.”
All of those drives were right-handed finishes, which means he jumped off his left foot. Earlier in the game, he looked to be forcing himself left to prevent pushing off his left foot. That he even considered going up for a dunk — 36 minutes into his stint — was a sign of how good his ankle felt.
Jackson said Curry would not practice on Saturday. With games coming every other day for the rest of the series, Curry likely won’t participate in practice. Jacksons said the team won’t do much practicing anyway, primarily just breakdown the game plan and do individual drills.
JACKSON: “I don’t need him today.”