Steph Curry, the 2022 NBA Finals MVP for the defending champion Golden State Warriors, exited Wednesday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers with a left shoulder injury.
Curry will undergo an MRI on Thursday, but replays suggest he has a left shoulder subluxation. During a defensive possession late in the third quarter, Curry attempted a steal against Pacers forward Jalen Smith. Curry swiped at the ball with his left hand as the bigger and stronger Smith drove the lane and attempted a shot, which caused the injury.
Curry instantly grabbed his left shoulder as he ran back down court. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr subbed out Curry, who headed to the locker room for an examination. He didn’t return to the game.
I checked in with Steph briefly but haven’t had a chance to go into detail,” Kerr told reporters after the game. “Steph is always a guy with a great outlook on life, so he’s in good spirits.”
The Warriors listed Curry as day-to-day, but they’re waiting for an MRI to determine how much time he’ll miss. NBA executives hope he can be ready to play on Christmas during their quintuple-header.
The Warriors host the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth of five games on Christmas. It’s a rematch of the last year’s Western Conference semifinals, and the Grizzlies want revenge after the Warriors knocked them out of the 2022 NBA playoffs.
Warriors bettors are holding their breath as Steph Curry is OUT for the remainder of the game due to a shoulder injury… pic.twitter.com/K0GrilAFoT
— SportsLine (@SportsLine) December 15, 2022
Curry Drops 38 Points in 30 Minutes
Curry was on fire prior to his injury. He tallied 38 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in just 30 minutes of floor time against the Pacers. He shot 11-for-19 from the floor, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
The Warriors scored 54 points in the first half, and Curry accounted for half of them with 27 points.
Steph was just stunning,” said Kerr. “He put us on his shoulders in the minutes he was out there. Generating so much offense, getting to the line, getting the ball to other people. He was brilliant.”
Without Curry in the fourth quarter, the Warriors lost, 125-119. His 38 points were his highest total since he torched the Phoenix Suns for 50 points in mid-November.
Curry averages 30.0 points, 6.8 assists, and 6.6 rebounds per game this season. He’s shooting 43.4% from 3-point range this season.
Curry was bogged down in a shooting slump last season when he connected on only 38% of his 3-point attempts. The majority of NBA players would gladly shoot 38% from beyond the arc, but that was a down year for Curry, who is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Over his career, Curry has averaged 42.8% from downtown.
Another Shoulder Injury for Curry
Curry missed 18 games last season with a similar left shoulder injury and overall load management. But he healed in time for the Warriors’ epic postseason run.
The timing of the injury to Curry’s nonshooting shoulder is good and bad. On the good side, the Warriors would rather lose Curry for a few games earlier in the season than later in the season. No one wants to see their star player head into the postseason with a lingering injury, especially an All-Star like Curry.
On the bad side, the Warriors looked awful in the first quarter of the season. They have one of the most extreme home/away splits in the NBA this season, going 2-13 on the road and 12-2 at home at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors have an aversion to the road this season, which they have to solve before the playoffs.
Injuries provide opportunities and the Warriors have depth, so they can withstand a short-time absence from Curry.
Guard Jordan Poole (17.9 ppg) is one of the top three contenders to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award this season. Kerr could insert him into the starting lineup alongside Klay Thompson. Or, Kerr can keep Poole as the sixth man and tap backup point guard Donte DiVincenzo to start instead.
In his first season with the Warriors, DiVincenzo appeared in 22 games and started twice. He averages 6.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in approximately 19 minutes per game.
Warriors Dip Under .500
With the loss in Indiana, the Warriors are 14-15. If the season ended today, the defending champions would be headed to the Western Conference Play-In Tournament as the 10th-place team.
Despite the sluggish start, the Warriors are still a popular pick to win the 2022-23 NBA championship and are +750 odds to win back-to-back championships. Only the high-flying Boston Celtics (+310) and Milwaukee Bucks (+600) have better championship odds than the Warriors.
The public loves to bet the Warriors. It’s not a surprise to see them as the consensus favorite to win the Western Conference at +350 odds, even though they’re ranked #10 in the West.
The numbers are a little different in Pacific Division odds. The Phoenix Suns are -135 odds to win another division title, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers at +300, and the Warriors at +450. The prevailing thought is that the veteran Warriors are less concerned with winning the division, and more concerned about hitting their peak toward the end of the regular season in time for the postseason.
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