[This post is a day late. That's because while yours truly was in the middle of writing it last night, the Google/blogger site crashed. After waiting a couple hours for it to come back up -- it didn't -- I crashed too. Finishing up here.....]
It was the best thing that could happen to Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Well, maybe the second best thing. The first, of course, was the Dubs knocking off the Portland Trail Blazers on the road to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. It will likely be lights out in Game 5 for the RipCity bunch when the series goes back to Oakland.
But another interesting subplot was very much in play. This was Steph Curry's first game back since suffering back-to-back leg injuries. No doubt, the sprained ankle had had plenty of time to heal, but the strained knee ligament was still a question mark. Was he truly good to go 100%? Would it hold up in a game situation? Nobody knew for sure, probably including Curry himself.
It's one thing to trot up and down the court in practice and leisurely shoot balls from different spots on the floor. But it's quite another to go full speed with defenders hounding you. And yes, there will be contact in a game. Sometimes hard -- your're going to the floor -- contact.
Besides, Curry had been "inactive" for a couple weeks. Would the "rust" factor come into play when he returned? This wasn't just some ordinary regular season contest -- it was a playoff game on the road against the Blazers who were fighting for their post-season lives. They were going to "bring it".
Almost predictably, Curry got off to a sluggish start. He was less than impressive in the first half. Throwing up bricks, bad passes, and coughing up a few turnovers. But the knee held up. No pain.
In the second half, he started to return to form. His shots started falling and the swagger came back. In a back and forth game, as fate would have it, the teams were tied at the end of regulation. That meant overtime.
It's quite likely the GS trainers/medical staff had some concerns about Curry. Probably the LAST thing they wanted to see was the game go into OT, hence pushing the envelope on Curry even further.
But the leg held up indeed. Not only that, he rediscovered his shot and was back to his old long-range bombing self. He would wind up dropping forty points on Portland in his first game back. Very impressive stuff.
Quick question. What are the chances Steph Curry got another (just to make sure) MRI when he arrived back to Oakland?
Answer. Better than average.
Yep. As things turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened to Curry and the Warriors.
He most definitely passed the "audition" with flying colors.
And it doesn't bode well for their competition in the future. GS was pretty good without #30, but with him back in form, and holding home court advantage throughout the playoffs, the Dubs are going to be a mighty tough out.