The Golden State Warriors aren’t going down in the first round to the Houston Rockets. Draymond Green won’t dribble off his foot again, and James Harden isn’t going to play defense every game — if history is a guide. But the concern that Golden State fans have goes beyond Houston and it’s name is Stephen Curry. Because the MVP isn’t playing right now — he’s in street clothes with an ankle injury. (Otherwise Green doesn’t even get the chance to dribble off his foot.) Though he looked anything but hobbled throughout his record-breaking season, the ankle is chronic concern for Curry, who had ankle problems earlier in his career.
If it’s a wear-and-tear injury and the Warriors are trying to rest their star’s ankle, the question that leaps out is why now? Why didn’t Curry sit out, say, the last week of the season when the Warriors had already secured homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs? (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich probably wouldn’t have let Curry anywhere near the court in regular season games 81 and 82.) The question an injured Curry forces Golden State fans to consider is did Curry put extra pressure on his injured ankle to make sure the Warriors won 73 games, taking away the regular season win record from Michael Jordan‘s Bulls? That’s a nice record to have, but it doesn’t come with rings. Did the Warriors waste Steph Curry’s health chasing history instead of prioritizing a championship? 73 would be a Pyrrhic victory then. We’ll see. It’s possible — but then again Golden State doubters haven’t gotten much right lately.