Join beat writer Marcus Thompson II for a live chat as the Golden State Warriors prepare for Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.
Archive for May, 2013
Warriors forward Harrison Barnes was named first-team All-Rookie, the NBA announced on Tuesday. Then in Game 5, he went on to look like an All-NBA selection.
Barnes was Golden State’s best player in Tuesday’s 109-91 loss to the host Spurs. He led the Warriors with 25 points on 10 of 18 shooting to go with seven rebonds and a block in 39 minutes. He had his 3-pointer going, his midrange going and his post game looked unstoppable at times.
TNT ANALYST KENNY SMITH: “I didn’t realize he could put the ball on the floor as much as he could. I didn’t realize he had individual one-on-one moves. … The NBA style of play and the way Mark Jackson has implemented him, the playoffs are a coming out party for him.”
Barnes has now scored 25 points in back-to-back playoff games. The last rookie to do that was Tim Duncan in 1998. He’s the third player under 21 since 1979 to score 20 points or more four times in a single postseason. The other two: Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.
Point guard Stephen Curry was smiling before this morning’s shootaround. And for good reason. His team has a chance to take control of this series tonight in Game 5. And his sprained left ankle is feeling the best it has in days.
“Ready to go tonight,” Curry said. “It feels a whole lot better than it did before Game 4, so that’s all I could ask for.”
Curry said he doesn’t need an anti-inflammatory injection. Against his own hopes, He took his third of these playoffs before Game 4. He considers the fact he doesn’t need one now a major victory in his latest ankle chronicles.
Curry sounded as if he was concerned about suffering a setback following the injection. He said Sunday was the first time all season he thought about his ankle because it was swollen and hurting. But he said his ankle didn’t get worse the next morning. It was wrapped until it was “four times the size of my regular ankle” for the flight to San Antonio with hopes of preventing more swelling. The tape, wrap and compression proved successful. After more treatment, he walked into shootaround without a noticeable limp. And smiling.
“I think it’s in good enough shape to … be able to put a little bit of pounding on it,” Curry said of his ankle. “To warm up, get my legs back and keep my normal routine before games that I kind of broke last game.”
It’s hard to tell when it actually clicked. But at some point, Golden State got desperate. The Warriors decided they wanted it more. And they made the veteran, respected San Antonio Spurs discombobulate.
Golden State didn’t deserve Game 4. But took it anyway, 97-87 in overtime.
HARRISON BARNES: “I think the biggest thing with this team is we’re never going to give up. This team is going to continue to fight, whether shots are falling or shots aren’t.”
It was one of the most pathetic offensive performances of the season. The Warriors had 37 points on 30 percent shooting at halftime. They entered the third quarter down 62-60 and trailed 80-72 in the fourth.
Then Stephen Curry got going, bad ankle and all. Then Jarrett Jack found his strut. And Golden State shifted its defense to another gear. The Spurs were held to three points on 1 of 10 shooting in overtime.
After looking like they were dead in the water, the Warriors responded with a late-surge that changed the tenor of this series. This close to losing both games at home, Golden State now find itself tied with the Spurs heading into Game 5 of this best-of-seven series — and looking like they have a real shot at winning this thing.
MARK JACKSON: “I’m just so glad that a national TV audience had an opportunity to see exactly what’s been taking place in this area. Just a big-time win. This is a heck for a series.”
More on the Game 4 win …
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (sprained left ankle) was listed in the starting lineup. Coach Mark Jackson said before the game he’d be “shocked” if Curry didn’t play.
Curry, who rolled his left ankle in the fourth quarter of Game 3 on Friday, was officially listed as a game-time decision. He has received ’round-the-clock treatment on his left ankle, which he initially sprained in Game 2 of the first round series against Denver on April 23.
“If he’s on the court, he’s pretty much the ball handler and the guy running show,” Jackson said.
Before tipoff, Curry jumped roped in the hallway outside the locker room and did other movement tests. He then took to the court where he ran lines and did some defensive sliding movements to further test his ankle.
Jackson said he spent time with Curry on Saturday. He said Curry was the same as usual, laughing and joking. He made multiple trips to the facility on Saturday for treatment.
Curry said after Saturday’s practice, which he sat out, that he expected to play. But everything was on hold until he saw how his ankle responded overnight. Jackson said Curry can play, he won’t be limited.
It’s amazing how fast that swung. The Warriors were world beaters after their Game 2 win. Not only did they steal home court advantage, but many were expecting them to win the series. Experts, who didn’t pick the Warriors to get past Denver, were now saying Golden State was better than San Antonio and putting them in the Finals.
But after Friday’s 102-92 loss, the Warriors are now on the ropes. They’re in practically their first must-win game of these playoffs, as a loss in Game 4 puts them on the brink of elimination. They’ve gone from what should have been a 2-0 lead back to the underdog.
MARK JACKSON: “This is going to be a heavyweight championship fight. That’s a different animal that we’re going against. They have four future Hall of Famers. They’re not going to lie down.”
The Warriors learned that the hard way. Spurs guard Tony Parker showed championship resolve, bouncing back and dominating the Warriors. Gregg Popovich made some expected adjustments and one-upped his Warriors counterpart, taking control of the series.
Golden State needs a win to make this a series again.
CARL LANDRY: “I think we just didn’t have a good game. I heard coach say we didn’t match the intensity of the San Antonio Spurs. We didn’t do the little things it takes like getting the 50-50 balls an taking charges and weak side defense to win that game. We’ll get it right. Game 4 is (Sunday) and we’ll be ready to go.”
More on the Game 3 loss …
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry emerged from the training room all smiles. When assistant coach Michael Malone put his Sharpie up to Curry’s mouth as if he was a journalist recording, Curry gave his assistant coach some inside scoop.
CURRY: “I’m going to be auditioning for Dancing with the Stars.”
Before the post-practice interview began, Curry paused the proceedings to move them to the right. That way, the camera would show him next to the Muscle Milk sticker on the refrigerator. Yup, the Warriors star point guard seemed to be in good spirits a day after re-spraining his left ankle. Again. He said he expects to play in Game 4. Here is the interview transcript”
How are your spirits the day after?
We’re still encouraged as a team. It was a missed opportunity last night. Our effort, from start to finish, wasn’t where we wanted it to be. But we have another opportunity tomorrow to even the series and be in good shape. So, we’re looking forward to getting back on the floor.
If you could gauge it, you think you’ll be bale to play?
I think so. You never really know how it’s going to feel the next day. You just keep with the treatment. Same ol’ story. I have the same answers. I hope it feels good enough to go tomorrow. But until I wake up tomorrow and see, you just hope for the best right now.
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is a game-time decision with a sprained left ankle.
X-rays were negative, a team official said, and no MRI was scheduled. Curry is getting ‘round-the-clock treatment. Officially he’s a game-time decision. But his chances of playing are made dicey by the earlier start. Sunday’s game tips off at 12:30, giving Curry about 36 hours of rest and rehabilitation.
MARK JACKSON: “Again, as usual, just staying true to the process. He’ll get treatment all day long. I’ll stay in constant contact with him. We’ll see how he feels and make a decision whether he plays or not tomorrow.”
At the 4:40 mark of the fourth quarter in Game 3, Curry, dribbling at the top, rolled his left ankle. He immediately began limping and gave up the ball. The Warriors eventually fouled to stop play, but he stayed in the game, waving off the substation.
It’s not his surgically repaired right ankle, which has given him problems the previous two seasons. It was the same ankle Curry sprained in Game 2 at Denver. It hadn’t been a problem since he got his second anti-inflammatory injection just before Game 4 at Oracle. Golden State had three days off before the Spurs series.
Curry has been the heart and soul of the Warriors (already without All-Star forward David Lee) and without him, their chances at upsetting No. 2 San Antonio appear suspect.
KLAY THOMPSON: “He’ll play. No question about it. He will play through anything. He’s got heart.”