The Warriors are finally bringing the playoffs back to the Bay tonight after evening up their best-of-seven series against the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday.
As if Golden State didn’t have enough problems with David Lee’s season ending injury, nearly 20,000 fans and media will have their eyes riveted on Stephen Curry’s left ankle at Oracle Arena Friday night.
Curry sprained his left (not his oft-injured right) ankle in the third quarter of Game 2. Warriors fans everywhere are on pins and needles waiting to see if Curry will be able to play in Game 3, the W’s first home playoff game in six years.
Curry sat out practice yesterday, saying that if he had to play Thursday he wouldn’t be able to. Though he said he was confident he’d be ready come Friday night:
Warriors Guard Stephen Curry
“How it’s responded over the last day, it’s coming back pretty quick. I’m not worried right now. As long as I stick to the game plan that we’ve come up with to fix the problem.”
The Warriors seemed like they had been dealt the better hand when the series started against a banged up Denver roster without Danilo Gallinari. In Game 2, Kenneth Faried returned to the Nuggets lineup but scored just 4 points in 21 minutes.
As the series plugs along, the tables could be turning.
Ty Lawson is as quick as ever, and Andre Miller — who sunk the game winning shot in the last seconds of Game 1 — is unrelenting off the bench. Faried could be back in the starting lineup by Friday, subbing for the ineffective Kosta Koufos.
The Warriors made up for not having Lee in the lineup in Game 2 with Harrison Barnes scoring 24 points and Jarrett Jack pouring in 26.
But if Curry can’t play, finding another 30 points might prove too much against a strengthening Denver team.
Head coach Mark Jackson didn’t let fear phase him at practice Thursday, saying that even if Curry didn’t play he wasn’t worried:
Warriors Coach Mark Jackson
“We pray that he’s ready to go. If not, we’ll be ready to go as a team. Once again, no excuses.”
Known for its explosive energy, Oracle Arena promises to be a different place altogether during the first playoff game since 2007.
Tickets are still available for Games 3 and 4, but don’t expect to get in cheaply. Even the lowest priced tickets are more than $100, and for those with deeper pockets sideline tickets start around $1,000.
Game 3 tips off at 7:30 p.m. tonight on ESPN2 and CSN Bay Area. Game 4 will start at 6:30 p.m. on TNT and CSN Bay Area.