Despite puffy elbow, Warriors' Curry 'fine' after Game 2 crash


Despite puffy elbow, Warriors' Curry 'fine' after Game 2 crash

OAKLAND –- The Oklahoma City Thunder took a good, long, demoralizing look at the most underrated aspect of Stephen Curry.

That would be his toughness, something the Warriors have come to expect.

“Business as usual,” coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s latest highlight flurry. “This is what he does.”

[HAM: Curry's dazzling third-quarter flurry dooms Thunder in Game 2]

After taking a spill over the courtside seats in the second quarter, coming away with an ugly bump on his right elbow, Curry took over the game in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in a five-minute span to spark a 118-91 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.

And if the wounded elbow didn’t incite Curry’s inner animal, a no-call on a play on which he thought he was fouled may have exacerbated his fury.

“I actually hit my elbow again, so I was just frustrated about that,” Curry said afterward, his elbow wrapped in a sleeve. “Obviously I wanted a foul call, but I slid and did the same thing. So it was kind of –- you know, as a player, when you get an injury or something, it's usually a magnet for another hit, another bang, and that was very true tonight.”

Barely a minute after the no-call on Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Curry began to assert himself. He made a 3-pointer with 7:09 left in the quarter. He then went back at Durant, this time launching a 3-pointer and drawing a foul, after which Durant turned on referee Ed Malloy and was whistled for a technical foul.

Curry made all four free throws, giving the Warriors a 71-57 lead with 6:33 left in the quarter. He followed that 26 seconds later with another 3-pointer, added a jumper 20 seconds after that and closed out his personal 15-2 run by splashing another trey with 5:11 left in the quarter.

The MVP scored 17 points in less than five minutes, hiking a seven-point lead to 20 -– with a shooting elbow that was horribly deformed.

“I was just hoping he was okay,” teammate Draymond Green said of Curry. “I mean, flying over seats like that you don't know if it's a leg, if it's an elbow, his head. It's tough. So just hoping that he was okay. Once I got over there I saw he was starting to get up, so it was good.

“But the elbow is definitely a little puffy.”

[RATTO: Warriors even series with Thunder, but gain no momentum]

Curry finished the game with 28 points, three assists and two rebounds –- and one ugly elbow. “Elbow's fine,” Curry said. “It looks like it has a tennis ball on top of it, but it doesn't affect range of motion or anything. It's just some pain, so I'll be all right.

“It’s something I’ll have to pay attention to for the next 48 hours, until we leave for OKC. If the swelling goes down, then I should be all right. But I think that’s not as invasive a procedure, if necessary. So either way, I’ll be fine.”

So says the man who tweaked his right ankle in Game 1 of the first round against Houston, missed two games, only to return for Game 4 and sprain his right knee.

Now it’s the elbow. Don’t worry, he says. It’s fine, he adds, leaving no reason to believe otherwise.

Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson looks forward to guarding James Harden

Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson looks forward to guarding James Harden

James Harden scored 29 points on 16 field-goal attempts the last time the Warriors faced the Houston Rockets back on Feb. 20. Houston won that game 135-105, and it sounds like Golden State's Juan Toscano-Anderson was looking forward to the rematch.

With the NBA season indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Toscano-Anderson and the Warriors have some free time on their hands. Toscano-Anderson made use of it by holding a Q&A on Twitter on Saturday night, at which time he was asked which player -- whether teammate or opponent -- he was most looking forward to playing with or against when the season starts back up.

Toscano-Anderson provided multiple answers.

"Excited to get our whole team back to full strength," Toscano-Anderson replied. "I was very excited to guard James Harden."

Well, you've got to appreciate the fact that he's not afraid of a challenge. There might not be a tougher player to guard than Harden in the entire league, but then again, Toscano-Anderson didn't finally establish himself as an NBA player this season by taking the easy way out.

[RELATED: Toscano-Anderson reveals all-time Warriors starting five]

The Warriors and Rockets were scheduled to play each other for a fourth and final time this season in Houston on April 2. Obviously, that particular game won't take place on that day, but whether it is postponed or canceled, Toscano-Anderson surely will have more opportunities to try to make things harder on Harden.

Seven candidates for Warriors' massive Andre Iguodala trade exception


Seven candidates for Warriors' massive Andre Iguodala trade exception

The Warriors don't know if or when the current NBA season will resume, much less the next one. But whenever the 2020-21 season takes place, they'll likely have used several assets at their disposal with which to return to a level of legitimate contention.

But in terms of the Warriors' asset that likely will have the greatest determining impact on their success next season, the $17.2 million trade exception they received for sending Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies last summer stands apart from the rest.

Trade exceptions cannot be combined with others, so through the Iguodala trade exception, Golden State cannot acquire a player making more than $17.2 million (technically, it's $17,185,185.) However, trade exceptions can be split, so the Warriors could theoretically use the Iguodala trade exception to acquire multiple players, as long as their combined salaries don't exceed that amount.

While Golden State should absolutely be able to acquire a good player with that trade exception, the Dubs will have the added challenge of only having a tight window with which to use it. Once the league moratorium concludes at noon ET on July 6 (as currently scheduled), the Warriors will only have until the end of the following day to utilize the exception in a trade. They cannot use it prior to the moratorium, though in theory, they could agree to a trade at any point along the way.

Given the indefinite league stoppage due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it's possible that Golden State will be granted some kind of an extension to use the Iguodala trade exception, but there is no guarantee. Whenever it expires, however, the Warriors would be wise to use it on one of the following seven players prior to that point.