The Golden State Warriors avoided another double-digit second-half collapse on Saturday, holding on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 119-113 at Chase Center. Unlike in so many other games during a rollercoaster regular season they’ve blown big leads, though, the defending champions had an excuse this time: Steph Curry leaving with injury.
The Golden State superstar left his team’s win in the third quarter, hopping to the sideline on one leg after tweaking his left ankle and knee while sliding his feet defensively. Curry was briefly evaluated on the sideline, team trainer Rick Celebrini seemingly examining his knee, before hobbling to the locker room for further evaluation.
The Warriors announced shortly thereafter that Curry wouldn’t return with a lower left leg injury, adding that X-rays came up negative and he’d be getting a subsequent MRI. Steve Kerr didn’t have much more to add after the game, other than expressing concern that was palpable throughout Chase from the moment Curry came up lame.
“Anytime a guy’s gonna get an MRI level there’s a concern level, for sure. So we’ll just have to wait and see the results,” he said.
Kerr wasn’t quite sounding the alarm, though.
This is hardly the first time during Curry’s franchise-altering tenure he’s been forced to leave a game early with injury. Curry, thankfully, isn’t the red-flag health risk he was early in his career, but has long played a frenetic, movement-based style that lends itself to injury.
He said he didn’t know if Curry’s injury could be related to the “left lower leg contusion” that had him listed on Saturday’s injury report. Kerr
“Not the first time [he’s limped to the bench],” Kerr said. “He plays hard and he’s all over the floor. This has happened many, many times over the years, so fingers crossed that he’s okay.”
The Warriors led 98-78 when Steph Curry exited with 2:01 remaining in the third quarter, overwhelming the Mavericks in large part due to the reigning Finals MVP’s singular brilliance—not to mention the absence of Luka Doncic. Golden State fell apart offensively without Curry, committing seven turnovers and scoring just 17 points in the fourth quarter.
If Doncic and Christian Wood were on the floor, chances are the short-handed Dubs would’ve lost yet another game they held what-should-be extremely comfortable advantages in the second half. Instead, the depleted Mavericks put up a subpar 108.0 offensive rating in the final stanza, held in check by Draymond Green and the Warriors exploiting their utter lack of shot-creation.
Obviously, it’s much too early to say that Curry will miss time with his left leg injury, let alone the few weeks he lost to a shoulder subluxation over December and January. It’s easy to forget Golden State played relatively well without him, too, going 6-5 when Curry was sidelined.
But it’s not the holidays anymore, and the Warriors used an eight-game home stand to to keep their head above water while Curry was recovering. Every win looms especially large in a tightly-packed Western Conference with the postseason suddenly looming.
Here’s hoping further testing reveals Steph Curry avoided serious injury. Golden State could survive the glut of teams vying to avoid the play-in tournament if he just misses a few games or is out through the All-Star break. Other, the Dubs might to fight like hell upon Curry’s return just for the opportunity to advance to the playoffs at all.