The Golden State Warriors are in a familiar position in these NBA Finals. They now face a 2-1 deficit after losing Wednesday-evening’s Game 3 116-100. The scariest part of the game for Warriors fans came in the fourth quarter when Curry suffered a foot injury that plunged into a loose ball that ended with Boston’s Al Horford flopping on top of him. curry says he will play in Game 4but if he’s even slightly bothered by that foot, it’s probably time to pack up and head to Cancun.
A good thing for the Warriors in game 3 is that Curry and Klay Thompson started to look like the Splash Brothers. Games 1 and 2 were tough on Thompson, and that trend seemed to continue into the first quarter of game 3. Klay finally got his chance to fall, making five threes in the game and scoring 25 points. Curry led all scorers with 31, and Andrew Wiggins added a quiet 18, but was only 1 of 6 on the three-point range.
Wiggins aside, Curry and Thompson didn’t get much help from their supporting cast. This makes Curry’s foot injury even more troubling. You never want your best player to miss time in the final, but they can’t afford to lose Curry even a quarter, based on the way Golden State has played three games. If he can’t get into game 4, you might as well shut him down. Put up the sign “gone fishing” and name it.
Curry has been the most consistent player by far for Golden State in this series against Boston. And he’s really been the only consistent Warrior through all three games played to date. Not only does Steph score as we are used to seeing, but he does it efficiently, especially from three point land. That was the knock on Curry in previous Finals appearances. The story is that he shrinks into the limelight. Well, he appears in this series, but he can’t get anyone else along.
This is Curry’s second foot injury against the Celtics since March. The game in March was also a loose ball, but Marcus Smart delivered the blow that sidelined Curry for the remainder of the regular season. In-game three it was Horford. I won’t claim to know Horford or… Smart‘s intentions, but how many times can you commit an act against the same player before the eyebrows are raised?
Major adjustments needed
Boston is the more physical of these teams. We knew it was coming in. They have proven to be bigger, stronger and more athletic than Golden State over three games. The Warriors will have to find a way to get more athletic in the middle of a series, which is hard. It’s time for Steve Kerr to adapt, as he did in the 2015 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavs by bringing in Andre Iguodala.
This time Kerr might call Jonothan Kuminga’s number to get out. Possibly even Moses Moody or both. These two young athletic wings have shown what they can be for this Warriors team. The problem is that they are very young and inexperienced. But sometimes that can be the answer because they just don’t know, relieving some pressure. Just go out and play.
Any adjustment Kerr and his coaching staff are considering can’t wait, no matter what Curry’s diagnosis is. That big adjustment has to happen in game 4; otherwise we might be watching a short series, which I never expected, whoever won. But maybe Kerr doesn’t have another ace up his sleeve. The potential adjustment on the table could be moot if Curry can’t go or is just a fraction of himself in game 4.
Golden State trailed 2-1 in the 2015 Finals against LeBron James and the Cavs. They were in a 3-1 hole against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. So the core group of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Vegetable have been here before. Iguodala was also part of those teams that came back to win both series. It may take a miracle or two this time to make a comeback.