NBA Gameday: Will Warriors lean on Durant with Draymond out vs Clippers?

NBA Gameday: Will Warriors lean on Durant with Draymond out vs Clippers?

LOS ANGELES -- The Warriors have beaten the Los Angeles Clippers eight consecutive times, largely because of the presence of Draymond Green.

When they try to make it nine straight Thursday night at Staples Center, Green will be watching from the sideline, declared out with a left shoulder contusion sustained in a 126-111 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday in Oakland.

The Warriors (42-7) have been successful against LA largely because of Green’s splendid defense on Clippers star Blake Griffin. With point guard Chris Paul out, containing Griffin becomes even more pivotal.

The Clippers (31-18), like the Warriors, are on the second night of a back-to-back set, having defeated the Suns 124-114 in Phoenix on Wednesday night.


Warriors by 9.


Kevin Durant & Co. vs. Blake Griffin: With Green out, the Warriors have no physical match for Griffin. He’s too big for some, too quick for others. Durant, however, can use his length to offset some of Griffin’s power. Expect Warriors coach Steve Kerr will send a rotation of defenders, though, as Griffin must play well for the Clippers to have a chance. The Warriors gain a big advantage if they can keep Griffin under 50 percent from the field.


Warriors: G Shaun Livingston (mid-back strain) is listed as out. F Draymond Green (L shoulder contusion), C Zaza Pachulia (R rotator cuff strain) and C David West (L thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Clippers: G Chris Paul (L thumb ligament tear) and F Brice Johnson (acute herniated disc) are listed as out.


Warriors: 9-1. Clippers: 6-4.


The Warriors have won eight in a row, including two earlier this season, once at home (Jan. 28) and once in LA (Dec. 7). The Warriors have won 16 of the last 21.


THE SMALL GAME: The Clippers opened with a three-guard lineup (Raymond Felton, JJ Redick and Austin Rivers) at Phoenix and could do so again. In any case, they’re likely to frequently surround DeAndre Jordan and Griffin with shooting threats. The Warriors wouldn’t mind this, as it would inflate the value of Andre Iguodala and it also would provide additional scoring opportunities for guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

THE DOGFIGHT: With their 46-point win over LA last week, the Warriors know they embarrassed their Southern California “rivals.” The Clippers are a proud bunch. It is anticipated that this time, on their home turf, they will bring considerably more fury to the fight. If the Warriors match the intensity, it may not matter.

LOB CITY VS. LOB TOWN: Back when the Clippers were healthy and playing well, an NBA scout told me JaVale McGee could be particularly valuable against them because his athleticism offsets much of what LA center DeAndre Jordan does above the rim. It will be interesting to see if that comes to fruition.

Curry out at least three weeks with Grade 2 MCL sprain

Curry out at least three weeks with Grade 2 MCL sprain

Stephen Curry will be reevaluated in three weeks after an MRI on Saturday revealed that the Warriors point guard suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his left MCL, the Warriors announced on Saturday. 

Curry sprained his left MCL with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter of Friday night's win over the Atlanta Hawks. Teammate JaVale McGee landed awkwardly on the two-time MVP's left leg, and Curry limped to the bench. He then headed to the locker room where he received further treatment, and did not return. 

Curry has missed 21 of the team’s 71 games this season. Before Friday, he missed the previous six games after spraining his right ankle against the San Antonio Spurs on March 2. 

Back-to-back ankle and knee injuries previously dogged Curry in the 2016 postseason. In his first game back from a right ankle sprain in the first round against the Houston Rockets, Curry suffered a Grade 1 right MCL sprain, and missed the next four games. 

Hopeful night at Oracle turns solemn after Curry sprains left MCL

Hopeful night at Oracle turns solemn after Curry sprains left MCL

OAKLAND -- The words came dribbling out slowly, ruefully and with more than a trace of despair.

JaVale McGee, the 7-foot accidental villain, could barely speak about his role Friday night in the moment that left the Warriors pleading for mercy while their fans were screaming at the sky.

Stephen Curry, returning to the lineup after a six-game absence due to a right ankle sprain, lasted 25 minutes before sustaining another injury, this one a sprain to his left MCL. The two-time MVP will undergo an MRI test Saturday.

“I pray to God,” McGee said, “that nothing’s wrong with him.”

The injury occurred with 3:09 left in the third quarter. After biting on a pump fake by Atlanta forward Mike Muscala, McGee wound up tumbling backward, with his 270 pounds landing directly at the front Curry legs. Curry immediately started limping away, with the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena gasping in horror.

“I was trying to block a shot,” McGee said beneath a vacant stare, “and I ran into him.”

That’s the kind of month it has been for the Warriors. All four of their All-Stars have been knocked out of action by an array of injuries.

Curry went down March 8 after tweaking his surgically repaired right ankle. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were injured March 11 at Minnesota, Durant sustaining a rib cartilage injury after taking a elbow from 7-foot Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and Thompson spraining his right thumb after making contact with Minnesota point guard Jeff Teague.

Draymond Green began the next week as the team’s only healthy All-Star, a distinction that lasted eight days before he was struck down with a pelvic contusion Monday night in San Antonio.

“It’s like a juju or something on us,” McGee said. “I’ve never been part of a team where everybody just got injured, especially the starters. It’s kind of scary to tell the truth.”

Durant, Thompson and Green were unavailable Friday night, which is why Curry’s return was so encouraging. After a 2-point first quarter during which he went 1-of-6 from the floor, Curry found his stroke and over his next 16 minutes scored 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

Then came the most frightening moment of the night, throwing a massive damper on a 106-94 victory.

“I assumed it was his ankle when he came out hobbling and I found it was his knee,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We will see what the MRI says tomorrow.

“There is not a whole lot we can do or predict. It’s kind of a strange, cruel twist of fate. He rehabs his ankle for the last couple of weeks and gets that strong and the knee goes. We’ll see what happens. Fingers crossed.”

The Warriors came out of the All-Star break fairly healthy and ready to make a run at the No. 1 overall seed. They’ve achieved it in each of the last three seasons, coming away with two championships.

Hopes of getting there this season have disappeared under a pile of injuries, all of them coming over the last 16 days. As of late Friday night, there was no knowing how serious Curry’s injury is, or how long he might be out.

What’s known is that it was another in a succession of frightful moments.

“It’s a little somber in there,” Kerr said of the locker room. “Everybody feels for Steph. But it’s more a case of just keep going and keep pushing forward. We’ll come into tomorrow, short practice and get ready for Utah.”

That’s at the request of the schedule. That’s a dose of NBA reality on a grim night.

McGee didn’t seem ready for that. He was feeling awful about the entire episode.

“I can’t describe it,” he said of the play that followed everyone into the night. “Everybody has a TV. I fell into him and . . . I know y’all (reporters) don’t think I’m standing here like, ‘Yes, I fell into him.’

“That’s a star player. Of course, we don’t want him to be injured, especially after he came back. So I feel very bad for the fact that I was a part of that.”

McGee said he hopes Curry is out no more than a couple games.

The Warriors would be ever so pleased if it’s a couple weeks. They want to be whole for the postseason,, the only season by which they will be measured and a season that, on this night, nobody was of a mood to visualize.