OAKLAND, CA -- The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only team that has to make a major adjustment with Stephen Curry officially out on Monday night. Sure, the Warriors have to figure out a way to replace a player that scores 30 points a night, but the Houston Rockets defensive game plan just went out the window as well.
Curry hit the Rockets for 24 points in 19 minutes of action in game one before injuring his ankle. He tested it in pregame, but it took less than five minutes for him to know something wasn’t quite right.
“He spreads you out so much that it opens up holes,” J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Your defense, when you’re guarding him, you have to chase him out to 35-feet.”
According to the Rockets coach, Curry changes the entire dynamic to the game. He forces you to play further away from the basket and it opens passing lanes for others. The way he runs off screens or takes you off the dribble draws a crowd.
“He’s just a constant threat and he’s in constant motion,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s not a guy who’s just in one spot at all times and you can focus in on him. You’ve got 10 eyes that are trying to follow him around the floor and it opens it up for other people.”
Clearly the Warriors offense will shift to another 3-point assassin in Klay Thompson and he might even be a tougher matchup. James Harden is not known for his ability to defend and Thompson can do plenty of damage. He finished second in the NBA in 3-point makes behind Curry with an astounding 276.
“Their system doesn’t change, they’ll still play the same way,” Bickerstaff added. “They’ll still push it at you, they’ll shoot a ton of threes, they’ll continue to move. You have to be prepared for that. ”
Veteran Shaun Livingston will get the start in Curry’s absence. He’s completely different guard, but he still brings quality to the Warriors backcourt.