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Warriors Survive and Advance, Finish off Nuggets 4-2

By Marcus Thompson II

mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com

OAKLAND — It might’ve taken all the defibrillators in the Bay Area to revive the nearly 20,000 fans at Oracle Arena whose hearts stopped Thursday.

Golden State nearly squandered an 18-point lead, and another star-like performance from point guard Stephen Curry — who changed the tide of the game with another big third quarter before his home crowd. But in the end, after a compilation of turnovers, guard Jarrett Jack made a pair of free throws in the final seconds to seal the 92-88 win over the Denver Nuggets, clinching the riveting first-round upset, 4-2.

The sixth-seeded Warriors advance to the second round against the No. 2 San Antonio Spurs. Game 1 is Monday in Texas.

“When we were down in the first half,” coach Mark Jackson said. “I pulled him aside and said, ‘There’s going to be a point in this game where you’re going to take over because you’re the best player on the floor. And what will happen is everybody else will follow you. And sure enough …”

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11

Stephen Curry Has Some Fun with Latest Ankle Sprain

Perhaps having been through it so much has made him comfortable. But Curry wasn’t moping about this latest injury. Instead, he decided to have some fun with it.

Curry checked out of the game with 2:26 left in the third quarter after spraining his left ankle. He tried to stop on a dime and rolled it pretty good. He came back in the fourth quarter and finished the game. Certainly, winning Game 2 helped his mood. And that it wasn’t his right ankle, which has given him problems for the last couple years.

Curry was feeling good enough to joke about his sprained left ankle on Twitter Monday. He  solicited his followers’ best ankle puns. The quips poured in.

“There were so many of them,” Curry said, sitting on the scorer’s table before practice.

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6

Warriors’ Win Gives David Lee Something to Smile About

When rookie forward Harrison Barnes drove the lane and dunked it backwards over Nuggets forward Anthony Randolph, Golden State’s bench went crazy in celebration. Warriors forward David Lee, on the bench in a blazer, wanted to join them. But with his torn right hip flexor, which has knocked him out for the rest of the playoffs, he had to be very careful with his celebration.

LEE: “I had to wait an extra second to stand up. I had to let the traffic clear out, then I stood up and cheered.”

It’s killing Lee to not be out there. But he said it didn’t bother him at all watching the performance his teammates put together in Tuesday’s improbable win at Denver, the Nuggets first home loss in more than four months.

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5

Warriors Need Carl Landry to Get Buckets Inside

Warriors coach Mark Jackson still won’t say who will start in place of injured forward David Lee. No matter whom Jackson taps, veteran Carl Landry will play a significant role in Game 2 on Tuesday.

That isn’t the worst fall-back plan. Landry, in his fourth playoffs, represents one of Golden State’s most experienced players.

“I’m not David Lee. I’m not an All-star. I don’t average 20 points and I don’t average 12 rebounds per game. But I can pick up some of the weight that was lost.”

Landry proved to be a coup for Warriors management. General manager Bob Myers pulled off the improbable signing late in the summer, inking Landry to a two-year deal worth $8 million (with a player option for next season). But Landry can etch himself and Myers into Warriors’ lore with a big performance in place of Lee.

Such is even more likely if Landry gets back to the inside game that helped lead the Warriors into the playoffs.

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21

David Lee Out For Rest of Playoffs

Warriors All-Star forward David Lee is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a torn right hip flexor.
MRI taken Monday confirms he sustained a Grade 3 tear, which requires months to heal. The Warriors will be sending out official word shortly
Ken Berger of CBS Sports was first to report.

The injury happened at the 11:34 mark of the fourth quarter. He drove down the right side of the key for a layup and was fouled in mid-air by Nuggets center JaVale McGee, knocking Lee off balance.

He came down on his right foot, which appeared to jam into the hardwood and causing an awkward contortion.

It was clear immediately something was really wrong as Warriors forward David Lee squirmed on the court, grunting and grabbing the top of his right thigh.

“Ahhhh, I felt a pop,” Lee could be heard saying on the video of the injury.

The preliminary diagnosis was a strained right hip flexor. The MRI confirmed Lee had the worst possible kind.

Hard not to feel bad for Lee. He’d waited 8 years to make the playoffs, and put together a career year to make it happen. He was crushed after the suspension prevented him from playing in New York. So you know he’s got to be devastated.

This could be a devastating blow for the Warriors, too. They only only lose their second-leading scorer, they lose their best rebounder — right when Denver’s best rebounder, Kenneth Faried, is set to return.

Carl Landry will likely start and play big minutes at power forward. After that, the Warriors will have to go small with the likes of Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Richard Jefferson at power forward.

5

Game 1 Rewind: Warriors Narrowly Miss Upset

Golden State did exactly what it wanted to do: slow down the NBA’s best transition team. Only problem with that was that put it put Andre Miller in play.

Golden State was on the verge of stealing Game 1, despite a subpar performance from Stephen Curry and an injury to David Lee. But Miller broke their hearts with a driving layup with 1.2 seconds left, handing the Warriors a 97-95 defeat, souring an otherwise gutsy performance.

JARRETT JACK: “We’re not into moral victories. In a simple phrase, we played good enough to lose.”

The Warriors’ defense contained speedy Denver point guard Ty Lawson and silenced forward Andre Iguodala, holding the Nuggets 11 points below their average. But Golden State couldn’t come up with an answer for Miller. He scored 18 of Denver’s 26 fourth-quarter points and finished with a game-high 28, taking advantage of the one-on-one defense he faced.

It was a dramatic end and a riveting start to a series most expect to be highly entertaining. The Warriors, even with the loss, head into Game 2 on Tuesday with plenty reasons to be confident.

“I thought we did some things very well,” coach Mark Jackson said. “What I told my team was that nobody came in here thinking that we were going to sweep the Denver Nuggets. You have tow in four games to advance and you can’t act like it’s over. So take the blow and be ready to make adjustments and respond.”

More on the Game 1 loss …

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3

Warriors’ David Lee Injures Hip; Await MRI Results

It was clear immediately something was really wrong as Warriors forward David Lee squirmed on the court, grunting and grabbing the top of his right thigh.

“Ahhhh, I felt a pop,” Lee could be heard saying on the video of the injury.

He was knocked out of his first career playoff game early in the fourth quarter. The preliminary diagnosis is a strained right hip flexor.

The injury happened at the 11:34 mark of the fourth quarter. He drove down the right side of the key for a layup and was fouled in mid-air by Nuggets center JaVale McGee, knocking Lee off balance.

He came down on his right foot, which appeared to jam into the hardwood and causing an awkward contortion.

X-rays taken Saturday night were negative. Lee is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday, which will determine the severity of his injury.

“You’re always worried about your teammate,” point guard Stephen Curry said. “You saw the look on his face when he went down. For him not to be able to finish the game, you knew it was something.”

According to WebMD, the hip flexors are a group of muscles — connecting the spine, the pelvis and the thigh bone — that move the hip forward when running and walking. A hip flexor strain is the stretching or tearing of one of those muscles, causing pain when the knee is raised.

There are three levels of hip flexor strains: Grade 1 (stretching), Grade 2 (partial tear) and Grade 3 (complete tear). The MRI will tell Warriors’ doctors if the hip flexor strain diagnosis is correct and which grade Lee sustained.

“It is unfortunate,” coach Mark Jackson said. “He is certainly a highlighted guy for us, somebody we count on.”

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According to some quick research online (none of this is official, just wanted to get some ballparks because I know you  you can get an unofficial diagnosis of which grade by the following parameters:

First Degree Strain
If you can move your leg to your chest without much discomfort, you most likely have a first degree strain. It can take anywhere from 48 hours to a week.

Second Degree Strain

If you had a lot of trouble moving your leg to your chest and had to stop part way through, you probably have a second degree pull. A second degree … needs to be taken care of extremely cautiously in order not to fully tear the injured area. This grade sidelines you for 3 to 4 weeks.

Third Degree Strain

If you can barely move your leg at all, you have a full tear of your muscle and requires a much longer time to heal. This takes a while.