Not so golden Warriors: Steph Curry slumping, team skidding
BRIAN MAHONEY | Associated Press
NEW YORK — Stephen Curry screamed, turned and kicked the nearby wall, disgusted by another missed jumper. It was just practice and most of his other shots went in, so there was little reason for concern.
But if he keeps misfiring in games and the Golden State Warriors keep losing them, there might be.
With Curry in a rare shooting slump and the Warriors on an even rarer losing streak, the NBA leaders are facing adversity – at least by their standards – as they visit the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Curry is 4 for 31 from 3-point range through three games of the Warriors’ road trip, with most of the last two games coming after Kevin Durant was injured. The Warriors found a way to win the opener in Philadelphia – when Curry missed all 11 attempts behind the arc – but they then dropped games in Washington and Chicago to end their NBA-record streak of regular-season games without consecutive losses at 146.
“We haven’t lost two in row in a long time obviously and we’ve been in a rut on this trip in general,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice Saturday at a court in the Manhattan building where the players’ union is headquartered. “We’re not making shots, but we’re also well aware that this is just a blip on the radar screen. We’ll be fine and I’m not concerned at all. We just have to play better.”
Klay Thompson is also struggling, and the Splash Brothers really dried up Thursday, going a combined 3 for 22 on 3-pointers in a 94-87 loss in Chicago. But the Warriors don’t seem stressed and don’t think defenses are crowding the guards more than normal without having to worry about Durant.
“We’ve had plenty of openings and creating decent shots, just haven’t gone in in the last three games,” Curry said. “But that happens as you go through a long season, you just have to fight through it and not let it affect how you play. Obviously if we make a couple more shots in Chicago the game’s a little different. Philly it was a struggle but we found a way to win, so just got to stay on the mission of letting the offense create good things for us and still have confidence to knock down shots.”
The Warriors were held to their lowest point total of the season Thursday. Curry and Thompson were a combined 15 of 49 from the field. Those are performances Golden State can’t afford without Durant, its leading scorer who is lost for at least four weeks with a knee injury.
“It happens to the best of them, so you just move on,” All-Star Draymond Green said. “You try to make plays, get them the ball and get them open shots, knowing that more often than not they’ll fall. But everybody has shooting struggles. Michael Jordan had shooting struggles and the list goes on.”
Curry seemed to rush some shots late in the last loss, and he’s trying to be more aggressive in Durant’s absence without changing the way the Warriors play. Kerr said Curry and Thompson – who is 7 for 33 behind the arc on the trip – had plenty of space to shoot.
“The only thing that jumps out on tape is that they’re taking some quick ones that we could probably move the ball a little bit more and get better shots,” Kerr said. “We’re still getting good shots. I think we can get great shots if we move it a little better.”
Perhaps Curry can get untracked in the nationally televised game at Madison Square Garden, where he made 11 3-pointers in a game four years ago.
If not, the Warriors know they need to win anyway. Their lead over surging San Antonio for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs is down to 2 + games.
“We’re not far off. Couple plays, couple shots fall and we’re winners of two in a row,” Green said. “But that’s the margin for error in the NBA. It’s very small and especially with KD being out our margin for error is even smaller, so just got to understand that and adjust.”