Warriors

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Warriors

OAKLAND -- Against his own wishes, Stephen Curry will be sitting on the bench Saturday night when the Warriors tip off Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Warriors are gambling that he’ll be ready for Game 2 on Tuesday night, when coach Steve Kerr says Curry is “very likely” to play.

“We just made the decision based on giving him the extra few days and the fact that he only scrimmaged (Friday),” Kerr said in his pregame news conference. “When you’ve been out five weeks and you want to play in the playoffs, I don’t think one scrimmage is enough, even though he feels great and wants to play and pleaded his case.”

By holding Curry out more as a precaution than because there has been a setback in his recovery from a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) sustained five weeks ago, the Warriors are banking on the belief they can beat the Pelicans without Curry.

It’s a savvy move, too, as it puts the Pelicans practically in a must-win situation in Game 1 of this best-of-seven series.

A New Orleans loss to the Warriors without Curry greatly diminishes their chances to win four of six over them with Curry. If the Warriors win without Curry, it puts them in position to potentially dominate the series upon his return.

The decision to sit Curry was made Saturday morning after the team’s shootaround after consultation with physical performance specialist Chelsea Lane and general manager Bob Myers.

 

Curry insisted that he felt ready to go, but was unable to persuade the staff.

“It’s a great sign,” Kerr said of Curry’s confidence in his health. “It’s a much better answer than, ‘My knee still hurts.’ I liked his answer. It’s just that we have to protect him from himself and his own competitive desire.

Curry will scrimmage again Sunday and go through another practice on Monday. Barring a setback, the Warriors anticipate he’ll play in Game 2.