NBA Gameday: Curry over illness, set to face hometown Hornets

NBA Gameday: Curry over illness, set to face hometown Hornets

OAKLAND -- Coping with illness and few aches, the Warriors get back to work Wednesday night, when they play host to the reeling Charlotte Hornets at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors (41-7) last played Sunday and have done only light work the past two days, partly because the roster is limited. Guard Stephen Curry and center Zaza Pachulia were restricted, while center David West remains out.

Only Curry, who pronounced himself over a bout of stomach flu, will be in the lineup Wednesday against Charlotte.

The Hornets (23-26), who have lost their last five games, will be on the second night of a back-to-back set, having played Tuesday night at Portland.

Warriors by 15

Curry vs. Kemba Walker: When the two point guards met Jan. 25 in Charlotte, Walker played though illness. Their performances were comparable: Curry had 28 points and finished plus-0 in 36 minutes, while Walker had 26 points and plus-3 in 38 minutes. This time, it’s Curry who is under the weather. Though he’s likely to play, he may need a boost from the Oracle crowd.

Warriors: G Shaun Livingston (mid-backstrain), C Zaza Pachulia (R rotator cuff strain) and F/C David West (L thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Hornets: G Jeremy Lamb (inflamed metatarsals) C Cody Zeller (R quad contusion)

LAST 10:
Warriors: 9-1. Hornets: 3-7.

The Warriors have won five in a row, including the first meeting this season, 113-103, on Jan. 25 in Charlotte, and seven of the last nine.

THE FULL KD: No matter who tried, the Hornets had little success defending Kevin Durant last week. He scored 33 points, including 16 in the decisive fourth quarter. With Curry at less than full strength, it can be expected that Durant will bring an aggressive mentality.

PUSH THE PACE: The Hornets are 1-9 when Zeller is out the lineup. His replacement, Hibbert, may be the slowest big men in the NBA. Once a solid shot-blocker, his reaction time has diminished and he now struggles to run the floor. Even without Pachulia, the Warriors still have the depth to exploit this.

GLASS WARS: The Warriors prevailed last week in Charlotte despite a slight rebounding deficit (43-41). The Hornets are strong on the glass (second in defensive rebounds, sixth overall) almost out of necessity. They’re 26th in field-goal percentage. If the Warriors can stay close again, they should be in good shape.

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”