OAKLAND -- The sprains and tweaks keep coming, piling up on Stephen Curry. And the Warriors can’t help but feel the strain.
It showed Thursday night, as the Warriors gritted and grunted through moments of futility before the final four minutes, when they summoned the grit required to overtake the San Antonio Spurs for a 110-107 victory.
The Warriors are going to have to find a lot more where that came from.
“Our guys understand that when Steph is out everything changes,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “The whole building feels it. There is not as much energy, pace and frenzy. It becomes a more methodical game.”
Curry did not join the team for its flight to Portland late Thursday night and will miss that game, as well as the game at Minnesota on Sunday. In hopes of returning next week, Curry will remain in the Bay Area and work with Chelsea Lane, who oversees physical performance and sports medicine for the Warriors.
The Warriors, who came out of the All-Star break with only one injury, Pat McCaw’s fractured left wrist, suddenly have one of the shorter rosters in the league.
Center/forward David West has missed the last two games with a cyst in his right arm. Guard Andre Iguodala and forward/center Jordan Bell did not play Thursday night after sustaining injuries in the win over Brooklyn on Tuesday. Bell definitely will not play this weekend, and Iguodala’s presence is questionable at best.
Which means, at least for now, more work for three players in particular: Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
“We’ve still got three All-Stars when Steph goes down,” Kerr said. “We still have a lot of talent. And Kevin Durant took over the game on offense. And Draymond did his thing defensively. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us because we only have three All-Stars left.”
Durant scored 15 of his 37 points over the final 6:23, while at the same time Green was re-assigned to defend Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge, who was sitting on 28 points with four minutes left.
He finished with 30 after making two free throws with 3.1 seconds play.
“They were getting a lot of layups off the double-team,” Durant explained. “Once (the coaching staff) switched it up, Draymond followed him every time, made him shoot a tough shot, made him pass the ball out for a pick-and-roll.”
Thompson struggled with shot, scoring only 6 points on 3-of-12 shooting through the first three quarters. He scored 7 in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws to pad the lead with 15.9 seconds to play.
The Warriors aren’t doomed to failure without Curry. The last time he left the lineup for an extended period, back in December, the Warriors came together, tightened their defense and won seven in a row.
Curry is not expected to be out nearly that long this time. Yet it will be considerably harder for the Warriors to go on a roll while playing teams in the Western Conference fighting for those precious playoff berths.
Yet it’s entirely within their capability, particularly if Durant brings his all-around game and Green terrorizes on defense and Thompson finds his rhythm.
They dug one out on Thursday. They’ll need to keep digging from the top of the roster, all the way down through the likes of Quinn Cook and Nick Young and Kevon Looney, if they want to stay with the surging Houston Rockets.