The Golden State Warriors pulled off a big Game 2 win over the Houston Rockets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Oracle Arena was rocking on Monday night, and it propelled the Warriors to a 115-106 win, despite missing star point guard Steph Curry.
It was very nice for the Warriors to get contributions from their starting point guard Shaun Livingston. The 30 year-old, whose career has been revived playing in a 6th or 7th man role with the Warriors, is averaging 12.5 points per game through the first two games of the playoffs.
But let’s not fool ourselves. The reason why the Curry-less Warriors were able to beat the soap opera that is the Houston Rockets is because Klay Thompson dropped another 36 points. Thompson seemingly loves playing against the Rockets, as he scored 38 against them in December.
The bench guys are going to have to continue picking up the slack with Curry listed as questionable for Game 3 of the series. Andre Iguodala, the NBA’s runner-up for the Sixth Man of the Year award, needs to keep facilitating and be highly involved in every Warriors’ possession that he is on the court for.
I have no doubt in my mind the Warriors will be OK in the series without Curry, if he indeed cannot perform. But, if the Dubs have to continue on in this quest to repeat as champions, they are going to need their MVP to make a full recovery.
The Spurs are looming as the best team standing in the way of the Warriors on their road to repeat, routing the Memphis Grizzlies in the first two games of the series. According to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s popular morning show First Take, there is no way the Warriors will beat the Spurs in a seven-game series without their reigning MVP.
The Warriors are coming off of the most dominant season in the history of the NBA however, going 73-9 and eclipsing the Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls of 1996 by one game. They did win a few of those games without Curry, as he missed a few due to non-significant injuries.
People also forget that Klay Thompson broke Stephen Curry’s old three-point record in a season this year. The Warriors have plenty of great players, resulting in a highly potent offense. The only problem they would face is running into the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
If the Warriors do not have Curry, then there goes 30 points per game, right out the door — not to mention the best shooter ever and the best player of today. This is significant because the Warriors give up over 104 points per game on average, just 19th in the league. In essence, they could hang with the Spurs without Curry, but they cannot beat them.