Monte Poole

An unsettling thought for Warriors: Iguodala could miss more than one game

An unsettling thought for Warriors: Iguodala could miss more than one game

OAKLAND -- The Hamptons 5 will not be appearing Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was ruled out two hours before tipoff against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena.

About 15 minutes before tip-off, the team announced that Kevon Looney would start in place of Iguodala.

It’s a massive loss for the Warriors, as Iguodala had started the last five games, alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green,

“He’s a great defender,” coach Steve Kerr said of Iguodala, who led all non-guards in assist-to-turnover ratio. “He’s an organizer. He’s a guy who settles us down. He continuously makes the right play. We’ll miss all of that.”

More unsettling for the Warriors, there is no timetable for Iguodala’s return.

“If he was close, he would play,” Kerr said. “He’s injured, so he’s no gonna play. We’ll see what happens in a couple days.”

Iguodala sustained a contusion just below his left knee after a knee-on-knee collision with Rockets star James Harden in the fourth quarter of Game 3 on Sunday. Iguodala left the game shortly afterward and did not return.

He did not practice on Monday, opting for treatment that morning and afternoon, as well as more treatment on Tuesday morning.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Warriors 126, Rockets 85
Game 4 Oakland -- Tuesday, May 22nd at 6pm
Game 5 Houston -- Thursday, May 24th at 6pm
Game 6 Oakland -- Saturday, May 26th at 6pm
Game 7 Houston -- Monday, May 28th at 6pm

A big opportunity awaits Swaggy P in Game 4 and potentially beyond

A big opportunity awaits Swaggy P in Game 4 and potentially beyond

OAKLAND -- When the Warriors signed Nick Young to a contract worth $5.2 million last July, it wasn’t so he could hitchhike to the playoffs. For much of this season, with the veteran shooter trudging through limited minutes, that’s how it has looked.

On Tuesday night, and perhaps beyond, Young will have a chance to give the Warriors a more substantial return on their investment. Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals looms and if Andre Iguodala is unavailable, there will be an opportunity for Young.

Suddenly, Nick Young, aka Swaggy P, often the butt of jokes and a frequent source of comic relief among his teammates, is needed in a serious role.

He already has a running start, averaging 16.7 minutes through the first three games. In the two previous playoff series, against the Spurs and the Pelicans, averaged 7.1 minutes per game.

Coach Steve Kerr said prior to Game 1 last week that Young could play a bigger role against the Rockets. That was a statement of trust in the former Laker, and Young has not disappointed. To the contrary, he had done an admirable job on the perimeter defending either James Harden or Chris Paul.

“He’s been great this series, guarding James, guarding Chris Paul, whoever he’s on,” Klay Thompson said Monday after practice. “He’s stayed disciplined, stayed in front of them. And as happy-go-lucky as Swaggy is, he’s also a competitor.”

Young’s defense, though nowhere near Iguodala’s level, has been solid against Houston. The team’s rating is a relatively 99.5 in Young’s 50 minutes on the floor.

“Luke Walton said he was the best defender on the Lakers when he was coaching him,” Thompson said, “even though Luke at the time said that wasn’t that big of an accomplishment.

“I didn’t know he moved his feet that well. But he’s definitely shown his value this series and why we brought him on, just because he stretches the floor and he’s a stalwart on defense.”

Absorb those last nine words for a moment. “Stretches the floor and he’s a stalwart on defense.” That may be the first time Nick Young has ever been described as a “stalwart” on defense. In this series, though, it’s hard to argue against it.

Still, Young’s greatest asset is on offense, where he does nothing better than stretch the floor with an extremely willing and very able three-point shot. Whereas opponents routinely sag off Iguodala, inviting him to shoot from deep, no team is foolish enough to take that risk with Young.

And that’s where he can burn the Rockets while also creating a little more room for deep-shooting teammates Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Thompson.

That ability, along with Young’s more reliable defense, is why he would be considered to start Game 4 in the absence of Iguodala, who is listed as doubtful with soreness in his left knee.

Kerr could go with Kevon Looney at center, sliding Draymond Green back to power forward and Durant back to small forward, with Curry and Thompson as the guards, with Young coming off the bench.

Or the coach could stay with Green at center, with Durant at power forward and Young moving into the small forward spot for Iguodala.

Young has not exactly been a terrific addition. His offensive production has been mostly hit-and-miss, and he usually has been a step slow on defense. His regular season was decidedly low-impact.

If he’s able to make a positive impact now, when it matters most, CEO Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers will feel a whole lot better about having signed Young.

Whether he starts or not, the opportunity will be there. And if Iguodala misses a game or more, the Warriors will be begging for Young to make the most of it.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Warriors 126, Rockets 85
Game 4 Oakland -- Tuesday, May 22nd at 6pm
Game 5 Houston -- Thursday, May 24th at 6pm
Game 6 Oakland -- Saturday, May 26th at 6pm
Game 7 Houston -- Monday, May 28th at 6pm

In third quarter takeover, Curry lets weight of others worrying slide right off his back

In third quarter takeover, Curry lets weight of others worrying slide right off his back

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry couldn’t help himself. He let his emotion tumble off his tongue and, well, clipped one of his angel wings.

Curry dropped an f-bomb Sunday that was heard by a few dozen of the 19,596 fans at Oracle Arena but deciphered by millions of TV-watching lip-readers around the globe.

So hyper-aware of it was Curry that had a ready response when asked about it after the Warriors laid a 126-85 beating on the Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

“I already know,” he said.

“I blacked out,” Curry explained, his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. “I blacked out.”

To his credit, there was no denial and no awkward attempt at damage control. He was busted and he knew it.

Keep in mind, now, Curry does charity work in his sleep. He raises a finger to give thanks after every basket. He pens bible verses on his sneakers. He makes an annual trip to a church in Oakland to personally donate goods to a community in need.

Yet there he was, late in the third quarter, single-handedly destroying the Rockets, getting carried away. After driving in for a finger roll that gave the Warriors a 24-point lead, Curry yanked out his mouthpiece with his left hand, while gesturing with his right hand and shouting words that will follow him forever.

“This is my f---ing house.”

He was, in the metaphorical sense, telling a precise truth. Curry is the most popular player the Warriors have ever had. He’s a two-time MVP who has been at the vanguard of basketball’s 3-point revolution. His 3-pointers have a way of crushing opponents and fortifying the blood of fans at Oracle.

Curry entered Game 3 being trailed by the nagging sounds of worry. There were questions about his left knee and whether it was fully healed from the Grade 2 MCL sprain sustained in March. There were concerns about his defense and whether expending so much energy on that end was siphoning his vigor on offense, where he struggled with his shot.

There was hope that, maybe, he could return to the cozy bosom of Oracle and prove that all was well.

After a mediocre first half -- sub-mediocre by his standard -- Curry came out in the third quarter and fried every defender who dared to get in front him. He scored 18 points in less than 10 minutes, making every shot he took: 7-of-7 overall, 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, 2-of-2 from the free throw line.

It was during this dazzling takeover that the weight of so many others worrying about him, asking him about his game, slid off his back.

And he wanted to let everybody know how good it felt.

“A lot of it was just talking to myself, almost like you've got to be your biggest fan sometimes,” he said. “No matter what questions I was being asked over the first two games or what the expectations were, I had the highest expectations for myself. And you've just got to...find whatever you want to get going.

“Obviously it felt good and you want to use that energy to show your teammates that you're here, you're with them, get the crowd into it.”

Curry still pays a fine to his mother for his turnovers. It’s not substantial, but it adds up and, if Sonya Curry were so inclined to save it, could pay for a nice car.

Well, Mrs. Curry may fine her eldest son for this, too. Curry may volunteer penance. There is a price to be paid for Curry’s frat-boy moment.

There’s also, in some quarters, a sense of relief. Yes, Curry is back and teaching lessons on the court. But he’s also human, capable of the kind of momentary lapse that he’d like to rewind and erase.

Curry’s image has been scrubbed and rescrubbed by a thousand loofahs. It has been, for some, a little too clean. There is dirt on it now, all because he let his emotions off the leash for a moment.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Warriors 126, Rockets 85
Game 4 Oakland -- Tuesday, May 22nd at 6pm
Game 5 Houston -- Thursday, May 24th at 6pm
Game 6 Oakland -- Saturday, May 26th at 6pm
Game 7 Houston -- Monday, May 28th at 6pm