Curry’s Diagnosis for Game 4 of Finals: ‘I’m Gonna Play’

BOSTON — Even as he lay on the field, with 240-pound Celtics center Al Horford atop his recently recovered left ankle, Stephen Curry knew what was wrong.

And as soon as he got up and took a few steps, he knew it would be okay.

‘I’m going to play. That’s all I know for now,” the Warriors star said Thursday, a day before Golden State faces Boston in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

“I know exactly what it is,” said Curry, who injured the same ankle in a similar game in a season-end game against Boston. “I think there’s comfort in knowing that I’ve been through it before, but you don’t want to experience anything like that at this point in the season.”

Curry finished bottom of a pile on Wednesday night as players from both teams ducked for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter. Teammate Draymond Green said he heard Curry scream in pain, but the Warriors star stayed in the game until coach Steve Kerr sent in the bench 14 down with two minutes to go.

The Celtics won 116-100 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Golden State needs a win on Friday night to avoid being left 3-1 before the series heads back to San Francisco.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

A key to avoiding the brink of elimination: Curry not only stays healthy, but plays as a two-time NBA MVP. The Warriors guard scored 31 points in Game 3, but only two of those came in the fourth quarter as the leading Celtics defense chased him across the field.

Golden State held a filming session Thursday, but the team’s regulars did not rehearse. Curry appeared to be walking without a limp as he entered the media room to talk to reporters, and he took three steps at a time to the podium. He had no bandage or brace on his leg.

Curry said he’d had enough sleep – 10 1/2 hours – and spent some time with his foot in an ice bucket. But he said he didn’t need an MRI because the injury was the same one he sustained when Celtics guard Marcus Smart landed on his foot during a March 16 game in San Francisco.

“This one just wasn’t as bad as that one,” said Curry, who missed the last 12 games of the regular season. “Once you start taking a few steps, you kind of know if you can walk normally, cut normally or not. Then I couldn’t. Yesterday I could. That gave me a little bit of confidence, knowing it wasn’t that bad.’

Asked Thursday if he would sit out if it was a regular season game, Curry said he couldn’t say for sure.

But for Game 4 of the NBA Finals, there is no doubt about it.

“I know I’m going to play,” he said.

MORE Injuries

The Celtics called center Robert Williams III doubtful on Thursday with the left knee injury that required season-end surgery and kept him out of seven of the team’s first 14 playoff games.

Boston coach Ime Udoka said striker Jayson Tatum is dealing with a sting to his right shoulder.

“It’ll flare up if it’s hit the wrong way,” Udoka said. “(He) had to shoot a few free throws after that, he might have been a little stunned there. He shoots threes right away, so I’m not sure if it hinders his ability to finish.”

THREE GOOD QUARTER

Golden State has beaten Boston in the third quarter of all three games so far, so a reporter asked Kerr why they couldn’t start the game the same way.

“I ask myself that question very often,” he said, “and I don’t have an answer.”

The Warriors surpassed the Celtics by a combined score of 106-63 in the final. Golden State led 33-25 on Wednesday-evening, clearing a 12-point deficit and taking the lead for a while.

Kerr joked that he has a book of “incredibly inspiring quotes” that he draws on.

“I’m just trying to get the right one,” he said. “And when I turn them on and they’re excited, they seem to play better.”

The third quarter battles are a recurring problem for the Celtics, who make similar mistakes against Miami and Milwaukee.

“It’s just one of those things where it’s a mystery,” Smart said. “We’re certainly not trying to hold onto that pattern.”

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