Friday, September 30, 2022

Curry returns, will come off the bench in Warriors playoff opener

SAN FRANCISCO ( Associated Press) — Stephen Curry will play for Golden State but will not start in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

“It was quite obvious. He liked it,” coach Steve Kerr said before the game. “The only question was how would he feel the next day and he felt good yesterday. Yesterday was a very light day and we felt really good about yesterday because we talked about it and today he is good to go .

Jordan Poole was in the starting lineup for his playoff debut.

Curry is back for the Warriors just a month after he sprained his left leg against Boston. The two-time MVP took a crucial step for the series opener in his best of seven – playing three six-minute stretches – on Thursday.

Curry said the foot is still supple after four weeks of Thursday’s practice and that he is also battling a bone injury that lasted about three weeks in running shoes. He exited the tunnel for the pregame warmup in his usual fashion, with a high jump to bring both feet into the air.

Denver coach Michael Malone said the Nuggets want to work curry on both ends of the floor.

“It is no surprise that he is playing. We have prepared all week as he will play,” Malone said. “…we have to find a way to get Steph Curry to play on both ends of the floor Because if he is only allowed to play offense, he is a three-time world champion, a two-time MVP. We have all seen what he is capable of.”

Curry, 34, was injured at home against the Celtics on March 16 and Golden State went 6-6 without him, although the Warriors found their rhythm and won the final five regular season games.

Curry is confident that he can help the warriors win, even when not at full strength. His rehab mantra has been: “Positive and patient.” His conditioning assures him that he will not slow down or wind up a step after a few minutes.

“Everything has been positive in terms of getting back there and understanding that whenever I’m ready to play, I hope it’s Saturday,” he said.

Against Boston, Curry was injured while scrambling for a loose ball with a 4:19 in the second quarter. Marcus Smart made a diving lunge into play and landed on his foot. Curry groaned in pain and got up, but kept on walking together before passing out at the next dead ball. Kerr called it a “dangerous” play.

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