2022 NBA Finals: Warriors vs. Celtics

NBA Finals Notebook: Steph Curry's injury update gives Warriors hope

The 2-time Kia MVP plans to play through an ankle injury in Boston on Friday.

Stephen Curry says he's going to play in Game 4 on Friday.

• Complete coverage: 2022 NBA Finals

BOSTON — For Stephen Curry, there is comfort in this discomfort.

Curry, the Golden State Warriors’ most potent scorer and two-time Kia MVP, suffered a left foot injury in the fourth quarter of Game 3 Wednesday at TD Garden that ended his night early and raised questions about his availability for Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals Friday (9 ET, ABC).

Curry answered the main question Thursday — “I’m going to play. That’s all I know right now” — and at least gave some context on the injury that he and the Warriors’ medical staff feel is similar to, but less severe than, the one he dealt with in March.

Back then, coincidentally also against Boston, the Golden State star left the game in the second quarter, underwent an MRI exam that revealed a sprained ligament and missed the final 12 games of the regular season.

Curry said this one isn’t as bad. He spoke with reporters after a long night’s sleep and a “couple of dunks in the ice bucket,” and said he was counting on the time until Friday’s tipoff for more treatment and improvement.

“Get as much recovery and healing as possible and understand how important Game 4 is,” he said. “I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Curry got hurt in a loose-ball scrum that had several players hitting the floor with 4:07 left and Boston up 110-98. Curry was the fourth player in, going to his knees, and Celtics big man Al Horford was fifth, landing on the Golden State guard’s feet. Curry winced in pain and teammate Draymond Green picked up his sixth foul pushing Marcus Smart before a whistle blew.

How did Stephen Curry get injured and what could it mean for the rest of the series if it is indeed serious?

So a costly play for Golden State all around. Still, it could have been worse.

“When I did it in the regular season, I knew right away that something was severely wrong,” Curry said. “Last night I knew I was hurt, but it was not as bad.” He stayed in the game until the 2:19 mark, long enough to take a blow to the ribs on Smart’s driving bank shot.

“I could kind of gauge whether I should stay out there or not and not do any more damage. That’s why I’m very confident I’m going to play tomorrow and keep it moving. You become your own doctor to a certain extent based on all the different episodes that you’ve had.”

Green, teammates expect him to play better

Draymond Green had the kind of game Wednesday that makes skeptics question his net value. As essential as he is playing middle linebacker to Golden State’s defense, it can be a luxury — some nights an extravagance — to play someone 35 minutes when they produce two points, four rebounds and three assists while shooting 1-for-4 before fouling out.

Green was at his irritant best, jawing with the referees, banging and badgering Boston players and inspiring a profane chant from the Garden crowd. Afterward, he dropped an expletive himself, saying he played “like [bleep]” and vowed to do better Friday.

Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas analyzes Draymond Green's recent performances.

Of that, his coaches and teammates expressed no doubt.

“Well, Draymond is here for a reason,” Klay Thompson said. “We would not be the Warriors without Draymond. He is one of the best players I’ve ever played with. All of us are human. We’re not immune to a bad night or two.

“I know Draymond will come out and play his typical brand of ball that’s very physical, fast-paced, talking trash and just being the ‘Money Green’ that the Dub Nation loves so much and has brought us to heights that the franchise has never seen before.”

There has been only a modest correlation this season between Green’s individual production and the Warriors’ results. In their victories, he has averaged 8.2 points on 54.7% shooting with 7.5 rebounds. In their losses, it’s been 5.7 ppg on 44.6% and 6.8 rpg. He was 2-for-3 with nine points, five rebounds and seven rebounds in Golden State’s Game 2 triumph, but a combined 3-for-16 with six points and 15 rebounds in the two defeats.

Celtics stuck in Groundhog Day 3rd quarters

The Celtics know that turnovers and third quarters have been chronic problems for them this postseason. We know it, and they know that we know that they know. And yet, it keeps happening.

Coach Ime Udoka can berate them, they can remind themselves at halftime how pivotal the next 12 minutes can be — and sure enough, they go out there and struggle again.

Boston has outscored Golden State in the first, second and fourth quarters combined by 52 points through three Finals games. The Celtics have been outscored by 43 in the three third quarters so far.

Asked to explain that disconnect — being super-vigilant about the problem, even as it happens again and again — Smart said: “Can’t. It’s just one of those things where it’s a mystery. You go out and do as best as you can.

“You can have a plan, and it doesn’t work. … We’re definitely trying to not keep that pattern going.”

Marcus Smart talks with NBA TV after Boston's Game 3 win.

Golden State, meanwhile, has been energized in third quarters. And coach Steve Kerr said he knew precisely why.

“I go into my book of incredibly inspiring quotes from movies and history,” he deadpanned. “I just try to pull out the right one, and if I get them fired up and they’re excited, then they seem to play better.”

Then Kerr ‘fessed up. “I have no idea,” he said. “It’s been our pattern for many years and has nothing to do with me or our coaching staff. It’s just the players. They seem ready to roll.”

Time for more Warriors help?

Even if Curry is able to play his normal allotment of minutes, there’s a chance Golden State will broaden its rotation for Game 4. Two possibilities to see some action: rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Kuminga in particular has size (6-foot-8) that might counter what has been a Boston advantage thus far.

“You never rule out anything,” Kerr said. “It’s something we discuss as a staff every day. Do we need to insert another player into the rotation? Do we need to change a combination, lineup combination?”

Steve Kerr answers questions from the media before Game 4 on Friday.

Kuminga (9.1 minutes, 5.5 points, four DNPs) and Moody (8.6, 3.4 and seven) have seen spot duty in the playoffs. Still, Green sounded as if he welcomed the help.

“We’ve always relied on our depth,” he said. “I think there’s a fine balance that you have to find there as a coaching staff. You don’t want to go too deep into the bench, then you’re messing up guys’ rhythm that are playing the big minutes. At times you do want to go deeper into the bench.

“Ultimately we trust our coaching staff and know they get it right way more times than they get it wrong.”

* * *

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.