SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — All along, Stephen Curry just wanted to
play for something at the end after everybody counted out his
Golden State Warriors from the beginning.
He could only be proud when this group fell just short of the
goal, appreciating how sick and saddened his teammates felt when
they didn't get it done.
The Warriors were eliminated from playoff contention with a
117-112 overtime loss to Memphis on Friday night in the second
play-in game. That after losing a 103-100 heartbreaker to LeBron
James and the Lakers two days earlier in Los Angeles.
“I would love a playoff experience and seven-game series and see
how we respond to that challenge. We have two — I call it three
playoff games, the last game of the season and these last two
play-in situations,” Curry said. "But it’s not how it’s drawn up in
terms of the format, and now we have three months to rejuvenate,
retool, come back next season, whatever that means.
“These last three games, including the homestand, I call it nine
games, or eight games, have been pretty awesome in terms of the
sense of urgency and us understanding who we are.”
The Warriors wound up 39-33, playing much of the last stretch
with an eight-man rotation because of injuries.
All those months ago, the doubters never figured Golden State
would be competing for a playoff berth at all — not after Klay
Thompson went down with a second season-ending injury in as many
Curry called the ending “weird” given how the Warriors dominated
during a recent five-year stretch.
“I'm proud of every single person in an Oakland uniform tonight
and all season,” Curry said. “From 15 wins last year, injuries and
all that to what we made out of this year, pretty damn impressive.
It's a very tough way to go out and we would love to be playing on
Sunday, but we can't lose sight of the big picture in terms of
where people had us at the beginning of the season, what we were
dealt with injuries, youth, inexperience, lineup changes all
Here are some things to take from Golden State's season:
CURRY & GREEN
Everybody wanted to see Curry on the big playoff stage after he,
at 33, became the oldest scoring champion since Michael Jordan at
35 in 1998.
Curry, Green and Kevon Looney are accustomed to long postesason
runs, like the five straight NBA Finals trips that ended with a
six-game loss to Toronto two years ago.
So there's a hollow feeling with this finish, to be sure.
“We’ve got a lot more hell to cause, a lot. Looking forward to
it," Green said of teaming with two-time MVP Curry.
Second-year pro Jordan Poole spent a stint in the G League
bubble, then delivered time and again down the stretch once
promoted to the Warriors.
He hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:50 left in OT for Golden
State, only to see Xavier Tillman answer with a baseline 3 moments
later. Poole lost the ball out of bounds leading to Ja Morant’s
basket with four seconds left, then Poole made another improbable 3
with two seconds remaining.
Coach Steve Kerr has called Poole a possible sixth man going
forward, once Thompson returns to the starting lineup.
“Just really fun to see how far Jordan has come since his rookie
year. A season ago, he was lost. He was lost in the woods like most
rookies are, and it’s just confirmation that hard work and
perseverance pays off,” Kerr said. “Jordan was in the gym more than
any other player during the pandemic, and he’s earned this. So
thrilled for him. I think he’s got a really bright future, and
obviously will play a big role for us going forward.”
NICE NEW DEAL
Juan Toscano-Anderson's new multiyear contract last week is a
bright spot and success story everybody could cheer. The former
two-way forward grew up in East Oakland cheering for the Warriors
and kept believing he could stay in the NBA.
The Warriors needed his energy off the bench along with all the
“We just wanted to attack every night,” Kent Bazemore said.
“That’s the culprit of it, you have those kind of guys in the
locker room, back against the wall, you know, Juan
Toscano-Anderson, just a dog, Jordan Poole. I mean, the young guys
really stepped up, Mychal Mulder here late.”
Thompson could only watch with desperation, wishing he could
help. Curry's Splash Brother missed a second straight season
because of a season-ending injury, this time a torn right Achilles
tendon that required surgery.
He sat out the 2019-20 season after tearing the ACL in his left
knee in Game 6 of the finals against the Raptors and needing
“He’s going to do everything in his power to get back to 100%,
knowing what he’s been through the last two years,” Curry said.
“There’s going to be a lot of support around to help him get there
but whatever version of him comes back is definitely a boost. We’ll
patiently wait for what that looks like.”
Golden State regularly played with an eight-man rotation down
the stretch, given Damion Lee was sidelined by COVID-19 despite
being vaccinated, and Kelly Oubre Jr.'s wrist injury kept him out
for the final 12 games.
“We kept fighting,” Andrew Wiggins said. “We didn’t give up, we
stayed competitive and playing hard and we only got better.”
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