How the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors move forward in the playoffs without Stephen Curry will be an interesting dynamic of how a team functions without its best player and the league MVP.
The Warriors got a bit of good news Monday when an MRI revealed that Curry has a sprained right MCL and will be out a minimum of two weeks, the team announced.
The team said Curry, who will likely be named the league’s back-to-back MVP winner, will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Meanwhile, the Warriors have a 3-1 lead over the Houston Rockets and can close out the first-round playoff series Wednesday night in Oakland.
But to do that, the Warriors will need the “others,” as Shaquille O’Neal likes to call role players, to step into a big void left by Curry’s absence.
And if Golden State gets past the Rockets like many think it will, the Warriors will either face the Clippers or Portland Trail Blazers in the second round.
Curry could miss the first four games in the Western Conference semifinals if the date for his return that the Warriors gave holds.
But for Golden State, having Shaun Livingston start at point guard in place of Curry against the Rockets is where it all begins. Livingston has been more than solid all season and in the playoffs in the two games he started for Curry against the Rockets.
Livingston is averaging 12.5 points, 5.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game. His size at 6-foot-7 has given the Rockets problems because of his ability to post up, to pass and to run the offense.
Ian Clark also saw his role increase with Curry out.
Clark has become the backup point guard who has averaged 4.8 points and shot 63.6% from the field in the four games against the Rockets. He’ll have to continue to play well.
Also look for Draymond Green, who leads the Warriors in assists (6.3) in the playoffs, and Andre Iguodala, who is third on the team in assists (4.3) in the playoffs, to facilitate more of the offense.
Klay Thompson, who is averaging 22.5 points in the playoffs, will have to do more heavy lifting in the scoring department for the Warriors to find success without Curry.
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