Game Preview: Round 2, Game 4 – San Antonio Spurs Vs. Golden State Warriors
May 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) limps after a play against the San Antonio Spurs during the fourth quarter of game three of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Golden State Warriors 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
With 4:59 left in the fourth quarter of Game 3, Curry ran up to the top of the key to receive a pass from Jarrett Jack. As Curry grabbed the pass, he went up to shot fake on Danny Green, only to have his ankle give out.
Not only did Curry spraining his ankle result in a broken play, on a Klay Thompson fadeaway, but it was definitely one of the few moments where Oracle Arena was dead silent.
Curry’s ankles had betrayed him once again.
Though he managed to stay and play the rest of the game, it was obvious the injury hindered Stephen from shaking Green loose on defense, which he already struggled to do this entire series. And after the 102-92 loss to the Spurs, Curry’s limp was symbolic of the Golden State Warriors attitude. Jarrett Jack is a talented player and is more than capable of having his own wild shooting night, but Curry is the leader and hero of Oakland. The pain and struggle on his face was starting to break hearts.
But the San Antonio Spurs can’t allow Curry’s injury and a Game 3 victory to let them become complacent. San Antonio finally managed to find their shot in this series, as they shared the ball and racked up 21 assists on 40 field goals. That, paired with the newly found intensity on the defensive end of the ball, resulted in a Spurs win. It also provided the blueprint of what’s needed to defeat the Warriors two more times en route to a second consecutive Western Conference Finals trip.
Gregg Popovich has already stated that Tony Parker’s sore calf would not hold him out of Game 4, but Curry’s ankle is a different story. If Curry’s not near 100%, then he’s just going to be a liability on both ends of the floor. And Golden State can’t afford to fall into a 3-1 hole, heading to San Antonio for Game 5 on Tuesday. The team already overcame David Lee’s torn hip flexor, but Lee is no Wardell Stephen Curry II.
San Antonio has the upper hand. Popovich instilled with the Spurs to respect their opponent, which worked wonders in the Lakers series. And Sunday night should be nothing more of the same. The keys to victory are simple: Respect your opponent and stay within the system.
The Spurs can smell the blood in the water. Now it’s up to them to take full advantage.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS(* denotes player is a game-time decision)
Point GuardsTony Parker – Stephen Curry*Shooting GuardsDanny Green – Klay ThompsonSmall ForwardsKawhi Leonard – Harrison BarnesPower ForwardsTim Duncan – Festus EzeliCentersTiago Splitter – Andrew Bogut
Key Bench PlayersManu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Gary Neal – Draymond Green, Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry
Head CoachesGregg Popovich – Mark Jackson
GAME AND BROADCAST INFORMATION
When: Sunday, May 12th, 2013 at 2:30 PM CentralWhere: Oracle Arena – Oakland, CaliforniaTelevision: ABC (National) Radio: WOAI 1200 AM (Local)
For perspective on the Golden State Warriors, head over to Fansided’s Blue Man Hoop.