The Golden State Warriors have been playing it extremely cautious with star guard Stephen Curry after he injured his ankle in the team’s Game 1 outing against the Houston Rockets last Saturday.
It made sense for a while. Golden State dominated the Rockets in that initial game before handling James Harden and Co. in Game 2 without Curry.
The thought process was clear. Why risk further injury to Curry by putting him back on the court before the ankle was fully healed? Why do so when the Warriors were in complete control of the series?
Following a horrendous performance without Curry in Game 3 on Thursday, that’s no longer the case. While still extremely likely to win the series, the defending champs are now just up 2-1 heading into Sunday’s Game 4 outing in Houston.
Will Curry finally suit up after missing the past week?
If you ask him, it’s highly unlikely he won’t be on the court for this all-important game:
Steph Curry said he would be "very" surprised if he was told he couldn't play in Game 4.
— Ros Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) April 22, 2016
As has been the case throughout the entire process, Curry will not make the final determination. That’s going to be up to the Warriors’ team doctors and coaching staff. Though, it does look like he’s clearly going to give it a go.
Golden State still holds the major upper-hand in this series. It just needs to close out the Rockets before extending the series too much. Curry might be rested, but the rest of the team has had to exhaust a ton of energy in his stead.
Lengthening what should have been an easy series won’t have positive long-term ramifications for the team.
In this, Curry’s importance increases for Sunday’s game. A win there, and Golden State can close it out in five. A loss, and the series is guaranteed to go back to Houston for a Game 6.