An ankle that can withstand 30 minutes of playoff basketball.
That’s one of many things the Golden State Warriors need today, regarding star point guard Stephen Curry, in their most important game of the season.
Urgency is unquestionably at an all-time high, as a loss on Sunday afternoon would mean a much more grueling task would await the Warriors: returning to a vengeful San Antonio crowd and facing elimination in Game 5.
A rejuvenation in this series, in which they appeared as the favorites just a few days ago, starts with Curry’s health. The dynamo floor general found his groove in this postseason, but a lingering ankle problem has disastrously resurfaced; he was kept out of a Saturday shoot around session, and now is questionable for Sunday’s all-important Game 4.
In terms of what actually occurs on the court today, the Golden State backcourt must return to their successful ways. Once again, the pressure only amplifies, as Curry’s limited playing time (if any) will force streaky guards Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack to play more prominent roles–in other words, transform that streakiness into an essential consistency. A point total around 15-20 points from both guards, along field-goal percentages no less than 40%, would fit the bill.
But of course, as is a sign for any true playoff contender, consistency on all ends is vital for the Warriors to emerge as victors today. Power forwards Carl Landry and Draymond Green have filled in superbly for injured star David Lee thus far, and must continue to fulfill their integral roles. Center Andrew Bogut must establish a post presence for the Warriors, and counter that of future hall-of-famer Tim Duncan.
The odds have certainly turned against Golden State since Friday night’s defeat, but if we’ve learned anything in these playoffs, anything can happen in the Oracle Arena. Boy does that sound cliche, but the boisterous and fervent Golden State crowd has exhibited the ability to inspire its home team to reach new heights–such as reaching the playoffs (and the 2nd round for that matter) for the first time in in 6 years, and for only the 2nd time in 19 years.
The pressure is indisputably on a young and flashy Warriors squad this Sunday. These kinds of games, and the crunch time situations that arise in them, make or break a team. But I don’t think it’s quite time for Golden State to disappear from the national spotlight; expect the Warriors to snatch a key home game win today, and extend this series enough to clinch a Game 7 victory and a ticket to the conference finals.