OAKLAND –- The Oklahoma City Thunder took a good, long, demoralizing look at the most underrated aspect of Stephen Curry.
That would be his toughness, something the Warriors have come to expect.
“Business as usual,” coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s latest highlight flurry. “This is what he does.”
After taking a spill over the courtside seats in the second quarter, coming away with an ugly bump on his right elbow, Curry took over the game in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in a five-minute span to spark a 118-91 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
And if the wounded elbow didn’t incite Curry’s inner animal, a no-call on a play on which he thought he was fouled may have exacerbated his fury.
“I actually hit my elbow again, so I was just frustrated about that,” Curry said afterward, his elbow wrapped in a sleeve. “Obviously I wanted a foul call, but I slid and did the same thing. So it was kind of –- you know, as a player, when you get an injury or something, it's usually a magnet for another hit, another bang, and that was very true tonight.”
Barely a minute after the no-call on Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Curry began to assert himself. He made a 3-pointer with 7:09 left in the quarter. He then went back at Durant, this time launching a 3-pointer and drawing a foul, after which Durant turned on referee Ed Malloy and was whistled for a technical foul.
Curry made all four free throws, giving the Warriors a 71-57 lead with 6:33 left in the quarter. He followed that 26 seconds later with another 3-pointer, added a jumper 20 seconds after that and closed out his personal 15-2 run by splashing another trey with 5:11 left in the quarter.
The MVP scored 17 points in less than five minutes, hiking a seven-point lead to 20 -– with a shooting elbow that was horribly deformed.
“I was just hoping he was okay,” teammate Draymond Green said of Curry. “I mean, flying over seats like that you don't know if it's a leg, if it's an elbow, his head. It's tough. So just hoping that he was okay. Once I got over there I saw he was starting to get up, so it was good.
“But the elbow is definitely a little puffy.”
Curry finished the game with 28 points, three assists and two rebounds –- and one ugly elbow. “Elbow's fine,” Curry said. “It looks like it has a tennis ball on top of it, but it doesn't affect range of motion or anything. It's just some pain, so I'll be all right.
“It’s something I’ll have to pay attention to for the next 48 hours, until we leave for OKC. If the swelling goes down, then I should be all right. But I think that’s not as invasive a procedure, if necessary. So either way, I’ll be fine.”
So says the man who tweaked his right ankle in Game 1 of the first round against Houston, missed two games, only to return for Game 4 and sprain his right knee.
Now it’s the elbow. Don’t worry, he says. It’s fine, he adds, leaving no reason to believe otherwise.