Warriors, minus Curry one more time, host Hornets
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors will go without star point guard Stephen Curry at least one more time Friday night when they continue a seven-game homestand against the Charlotte Hornets.
Curry scrimmaged with Warriors reserves and coaches Thursday, attempting to clear the final hurdle required before returning from his 10-game absence with a sprained right ankle.
After the workout, the Warriors declared Curry out for Friday’s game. But coach Steve Kerr indicated he’s likely to get a green light for Golden State’s next contest, which will be Saturday night at home against Memphis.
The Warriors have gone 9-1 in Curry’s absence, doing so mostly on a strength of an improved defense that has held six of the 10 opponents to fewer than 100 points.
Golden State finally put offense and defense together Wednesday night in a 126-101 romp over the Utah Jazz, pouring in 42 points in the third quarter.
“We’re a totally different team with Steph on the court as far as how we play,” noted Kevin Durant, who has spearheaded the defensive effort with two or more blocked shots in 10 straight games. “When Steph went out, we had to play a different tempo, a different pace. It was definitely fun trying to figure it out.”
One thing about the Warriors’ offense has not changed since Curry got hurt. Backcourt mate Klay Thompson has continued his run of 3-pointers, having now made at least one in 89 straight games.
Thompson tied former Boston Celtics point guard Dana Barros for the third-longest streak in NBA history Wednesday against Utah. He will seek to take over third place solo Friday night, and continue his chase on the top two marks: 127 by Kyle Korver and 157 by Curry.
The Warriors will be facing a Charlotte team that was held to 91 points at home by Boston in a 102-91 loss on Wednesday night.
The Hornets managed only 87 points in a 101-87 home loss to Golden State earlier this month in the first game after Curry’s injury.
Charlotte has lost 13 of 17 since Nov. 24 against a brutal schedule. The Hornets have faced Cleveland, San Antonio, Toronto, Golden State, Houston and Boston a total of seven times in that stretch, losing every time.
After Friday’s rematch with the Warriors, the Hornets won’t see any of those six elite clubs until Feb. 11, when Toronto visits.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, what on paper appears to be a softer stretch begins with four straight on the road, where the club has gone 2-12 this season.
“It hasn’t been the most friendly out there on the road for us,” forward Marvin Williams assessed before packing up to head west. “Just have to go out there with a road mentality. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up.”
The Hornets won’t leave the state of California on the trip. They also will face both Los Angeles clubs, sandwiching a trip to Sacramento.
The Golden State game represents a homecoming of sorts for Hornets interim coach Stephen Silas, who was a four-year Warriors assistant under Don Nelson.