Don't be fooled -- Curry critical to Warriors' repeat hopes

Don't be fooled -- Curry critical to Warriors' repeat hopes

When the Warriors faced the Rockets on Thursday in Houston, my assigned seat at Toyota Center was next to a scout from another NBA team who was, in his own way, as entertaining as the game itself.

His reactions to Stephen Curry’s performance were priceless. This scout, whose name and team won’t be mentioned here was, to put it mildly, consistently amazed.

He was cursing in low tones. Shaking his head. Whistling. Throwing out a “wow” and a “whoa” there. Resorting to “Are you (expletive) kidding me?’ It was as if this scout were observing the two-MVP go to work for the first time.

Sitting inches away, I imagined the scout reached a conclusion that I reached, oh, years ago: If the Warriors are chasing a championship and a healthy Curry is on the floor, any effort to stop them is a fool’s errand.

That’s how it has been since Curry returned to the Warriors lineup, the latest example coming Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.

Curry dominated a 121-105 destruction of the Clippers, scoring 45 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including 8-of-16 from beyond the arc. With 4:14 remaining in the third quarter he had 43 points on 17 shots while his teammates had 45 on 55.

Curry had to perform. He had to show up. He had to carry the burden. And he did.

“The whole game, other than Steph’s performance, was a pretty bad basketball game all around,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters in Los Angeles.

Curry was highly efficient and on target when none of his teammates could find any offense. His 45 points were more than the Warriors next four scorers combined.

Kevin Durant, who held it down while Curry was out for 11 games, was unavailable. And Klay Thompson was ice-cold, 4-of-16 from the field. Thank heavens there was Curry.

“Oh, I needed it, you saw the way I was shooting. I was short, left, right, every which way,” Thompson said. “But I stuck with it. But when you have a guy like Steph Curry who has your back, you can have a few off nights like that.”

With the Warriors going 9-2 and Durant playing at MVP level, the idea entered the minds of some around the NBA that the Warriors are so good and so deep that they could win a championship even without Curry. And maybe they can.

But is it really wise to bet that way?

The Warriors winning nine of 11 in the regular season is terrific. It’s not particularly mind-blowing, though, when only two of those opponents are appear to be locks for the postseason.

But winning 16 games in the postseason, when the stakes get higher and the opponents more difficult, is an exponentially bigger challenge.

The postseason is where teams get increasingly familiar with an opponent. It’s where shortcomings get highlighted and exploited. It’s safe to assume the Warriors without Curry would have exploitable shortcomings. If nothing else, they’d be easier to defend.

During the 11 games when Curry was out, the Warriors averaged 105.3 points per game.

In the four games since Curry rejoined the team, beginning Dec. 30, the Warriors averaging 127.8 points -- and that’s with Durant missing two of the games.

Curry during those games is averaging 36 points on 58.4-percent shooting, including 53.8 percent beyond the arc. He has entered a zone few ever really experience.

“There’s no thought process,” he said. “But you know when your shot is feeling better than other nights, just play and have fun.”

No player in the league is better than Curry at covering his team’s shortcomings.

Can the Warriors win it all without him? They might believe it. They have to believe it. But they surely don’t want to try.

We doubt they can do it. And we’d bet that unnamed scout feels the same way.

Draymond Green knocked out of game vs Spurs with pelvic contusion


Draymond Green knocked out of game vs Spurs with pelvic contusion

Already down three All-Stars, the Warriors lost their fourth midway through the first half on Monday night.

With just over nine minutes remaining in the second quarter against the Spurs, Draymond Green took a knee from a driving Danny Green.

Draymond was in immediate pain and left the court for the locker room.

Just before the end of the first half, NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke reported that Green was ruled out for the rest of the game with a "midsection issue."

Early in the second half, the Warriors diagnosed that Green suffered a pelvic contusion and that x-rays were negative.

The Warriors are currently playing without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. All three are dealing with injuries that will keep them out several games.

What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'


What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'

The Warriors were the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

That is probably going to change this season, as they trail the Rockets by three games (although it's really four because Houston has the tiebreaker) with 12 games to play (and only lead the Raptors by one game).

What does owner Joe Lacob think about his team right now?

“We’ve had our best team we’ve ever had this year,” Lacob recently told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group (read the full story here). “We have to go prove it on the court, but we have enough to win it.

"It doesn’t mean we will, but we are certainly set up to have the opportunity potentially to do that. That’s about all you can ask.”

Things can change in an instant and Lacob understands that.

That's why he's constantly discussing scenarios with Warriors GM Bob Myers and the rest of Golden State's decision-makers.

“We’ll build around that core until we decide maybe we shouldn’t," Lacob told BANG. "But right now it feels pretty good. These guys are all performing at a great level. We love them as part of our organization.

"I don’t really see doing anything major. But you never really know. We have to evaluate when the season is over. It’s very hard when you’re in the middle of it all to see it objectively.”

What happens if the Warriors don't win the championship this year?

We will leave you with this quote Lacob gave BANG.

“Maybe we will emphasize continuity. Or maybe we will make a big move. We’re looking at different options, given different things playing out in different ways.

"I think you should always be doing that.”

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller