As Steph Curry resumes light shooting and attempts to swiftly return from a Grade 1 MCL sprain suffered early in the opening round against Houston, the entire NBA world sits in anticipation of his rebirth.
Curry told reporters on Sunday that it’s a good chance he will “return for Game 3” of the Warriors second-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers.That’s great news for Golden State fans and NBA marketing machines.
However, for fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson who blazed a career-playoff-high 37 points (Not to be confused with his NBA record for most points scored in a quarter) in Golden State’s 118-106 Game 1 win over Portland in the second-round of the NBA playoffs, it has to be a bit annoying to know that his moment in the sun will end abruptly when the mad bomber returns to the court.
With each playoff victory, Golden State flexes a different aspect of their multi-faceted squad that brings some accurate perspective to how important Steph Curry is to the Golden State Warriors. He is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the team, but when we strip the NBA’s corporate and media influence away and just play basketball, the greatness of his so-called “supporting cast” comes to light.
As I’ve said before, Chef Curry going down was the best thing to happen to the NBA and the Golden State Warrior players who were getting done dirty like Pippen when MJ was on top. The media was shaping it as a Fat Albert and The Gang type of situation, but Worthy, Magic, Kareem is looking like a better comparison.
Thompson hasn’t just stolen the spotlight from every other star on the 2016 playoff court, he might have hurt Steph’s negotiations on that next mega contract. There isn’t a better shooting two guard in the league than Thompson and his defense is flat out better than Steph's.
Let’s not forget who defeated Curry in the 2016 Footlocker Three-point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend.
In Steph’s absence, Klay has become the leading scorer and he is leading the Warrior’s machine as it seeks a second straight NBA title.
Draymond Green posted his second career postseason triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for the defending champions. The offense was continuity personified as usual as all five starters scored in double figures.
To compliment an array of drives, and 30-foot splashes, Thompson hit seven more 3-pointers to become the first player in NBA history to make at least seven 3s in three straight playoff games. In true Splash Brother fashion, the 6-foot-7 sniper outscored the entire Trail Blazers squad with his 18 first quarter points.
As quiet and unassertive as the media has tried to label Klay at times, in these playoffs Thompson has put on his bigger boy kicks and become a full-fledged knockout king.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Oracle Arena and personally, I don’t want Curry to come back. Not because Steph isn’t dope as hell, but because the focus will switch back to a marketing pitch instead of the letting the true heart of the game pump through as we have seen so far in these playoffs. I love a narrative that is written strictly by the players and their performances on the court. This is awesome stuff.
(Photo Credit: uproxx.com)
If anything, we have seen that both Thompson and Green are better than we thought, if that’s possible. We see that Curry is a leader on his team, but not the suffocating personality that a Jordan or Kobe was. Green has been an eloquent and natural spokesman for this team in Curry’s absence.
The pulse of the team hasn’t changed and if possible, they look to be even MORE in sync as a unit. None of the Warrior’s player’s outside of Curry are recognized as Top 5 superstars and are used to deferring to Steph. That mentality has only strengthened the team’s defensive intensity and chemistry, facilitating a heightened concentration on the little things.
“I do whatever it takes for my team to get a win,” Green said following the game, “and tonight it’s a little bit of everything.”
None of this is good for the rest of the NBA, including the Spurs who look high and mighty and up to the task at this point. Not to burst the bubble of worthy championship opponents, but Curry’s absence has proved one thing; that the Golden State Warriors are even better than those 73 wins garner them credit for.