Yes, Steph Curry is the defending league MVP. Yes, he was this year’s scoring leader. Yes, he can hit a three-pointer with one hand from two towns over while his other hand fills a Brita pitcher.
But he’s also a human being with human knees and ligaments and whatnot that need time to properly heal. He was on the damn doorstep of a catastrophic knee injury that could have ruined not only this postseason but also all of next year. Granted it didn’t come to that, but that doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care how “good” or “confident” he feels to suit up for game 3; he needs to not play.
And the Warriors are fine without him. They’re fine! Of course that’s easy to say after they roared back in the fourth quarter last night to beat Portland by 11. But for a period of time in the first half the Blazers were playing outside of their own minds. Particularly Damian Lillard, who kept banging the bad boy gavel during his sessions behind the arc. But let’s not forget that the Warriors are a team that still starts two All-Stars every game, and has a bench that may look nine people deep but really plays like a first world country-sized army of murderers.
Steph’s injury was a freak one, but the NBA is a league that is filled with them. Game 3 isn’t until Saturday, and if the Warriors take it on the road, I don’t see why Steph should even play until game 5, should it be necessary. The Spurs and Thunder are going to beat the Christ out of each other over the next week, and while the Warriors do need Steph (don’t get me wrong, they ultimately do, but in the same way that a car needs to be serviced on the exact mileage listed—you can let it slide for a while), it is better to have him be undoubtedly 100% ready to torch the ground underneath whichever team they meet in the conference finals.