The Warriors have a challenge without Steph Curry for the next month: survive

PHILADELPHIA – steph curry he spent part of his Friday morning explaining the intricacies of his left shoulder injury to reporters. Short-term rehabilitation will be complicated. Some level of instability will remain in the joint. The aggravation could mean eventual surgery. But for now, she has avoided a procedural fix, which would have come attached to a 4-6 month timeline. She’s on her way back faster, aiming for around three to four weeks.

That leaves the golden window still ajar for a season that has gone sideways for the Warriors. It’s conceivable to believe they could resolve enough of their rotational concerns, perhaps improve on the edges and get a healthy Curry back with plenty of time to return to contending form. If Curry had needed surgery, that theoretical world would have disintegrated.

So this ups the ante for the next month. The Warriors created little room for error with a 14-15 start. before Curry fell. Currently there are 11 in the West. If they fall off a cliff in the next few weeks, there may be too much ground to make up.

“This is a very important stage,” Curry said. “Because you want to keep as much positivity and confidence in what we’re doing as possible and give us a chance to finish the year strong. Looking at that All-Star Break, that sprint to the finish knowing that no team in the West has really broken away. Then we can convince ourselves, ‘We’re still in good shape.’ But you still have to go out there and be a consistent basketball team (without me). I think we can do that.”

Shouldn’t that mean the goal is a .500 record? Do you win as many as you lose? Tread water until Curry returns.

“That’s always a good sound bite because it gives you something to play,” Curry said. “But I think where we are, we just want to win one away game.”

On their first opportunity, the Warriors tried and failed, losing 118-106 to the 76ers in Philly on Friday night.

But first let’s go back to the end of the last regular season. Curry has missed the past month with a sprained foot. The Warriors survived, going 6-6 in the 12 games he missed. That included five straight wins to close out the season, barely clinching the third seed, and an advantageous run in the playoffs that led to an eventual title.

In the last three wins without Curry, these were klay thompsonTotal points: 36, 33, 41. Made 53 percent of his shots and 51 percent of his nearly 14 3-point attempts per game.

“I don’t know,” Thompson said when asked what he remembered from that stage. “Some close wins. Some difficult L’s. Some hard nights. Some great nights. Things I’ve gotten used to over the past 12 years.”

Thompson doesn’t need to be volcanic with Curry out, but he does need to be relatively productive and can’t be destructively inefficient like he was against the Sixers. Thompson shot just 4-for-17 from the field, turning it over four times and seizing several possessions trying to get into a rhythm that never came on a night when they needed their offense more than usual.

“His knee was bothering him at target practice,” Kerr said. “It was questionable before the game. But the guy fights everything. His effort was there, but the shots weren’t going.”

Andrew Wiggins He’s missed the last six games with an adductor strain, but he’s about to return. Kerr said there’s a chance Wiggins could play in Toronto on Sunday. dramond green He is also expected to return after missing Friday with a quadriceps contusion. That will lighten Thompson’s burden a bit.

“I’m not going to push myself anymore,” Thompson said. “I am going to go out and play my game, trust my teammates. I’m not going to add extra pressure to score a certain amount, lead the team. I’ll get in my own way.

jordan poole He also had a memorable comeback to close out last regular season. Their Friday night in Philly had some throwback vibes. Poole scored 29 points as the starting point guard and leading spiker. He made four 3-pointers, slipped in some mid-range looks and only struggled when he attacked with too much ambition. Joel Embiid. But it was a positive night overall for Poole and Donte Di Vincenzowho was leaving with him with Wiggins outside.

DiVincenzo hit a career-high five 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. He’s been picking up pace over the past two weeks and is shaping up to be a crucial 25-minute depth piece for next month as Curry heals.

Once Wiggins and Green return, the Warriors will use a starting lineup of Poole, Thompson, Wiggins, Green and kevon looneywith DiVincenzo and the emerging jonathan kuminga as the most used bench players. That’s a capable top seven.

The search for reliable minutes beyond that seems to take Kerr in several directions. once again went to you jerome Y antonio cordero before grumpy moses against the Sixers. Lamb made two 3-pointers in a 38-point first quarter, but otherwise wasn’t great. Jerome made four shots and had four assists, a better performance than two nights earlier in Indiana. Moody had 16 minutes and made one of his four 3-pointers. They will continue to fight for opportunities at the edges.

But the biggest question about the late rotation is materializing in the frontcourt. JaMychal Green missed both of his 3-pointers in a quiet 11-minute period against the Sixers, while james wiseman, back from Santa Cruz, gave a remarkable 11 minutes. He had a midrange jumper, an alley oop from DiVincenzo and this engineered pick-and-roll action with Poole that beat Embiid and led to a towering dunk, sending the Warriors bench into a frenzy. Curry jumped off the bench and had to grab his shoulder to steady himself during the celebration.

But it was the finer aspects of Wiseman’s game that seem sharpened after an extended stint in the G League. He handled himself better in tight defensive situations, recovered decently, blocked more physically and stayed well spaced in the dunk spot under the basket.

“It was several plays where they fell behind him and we got open 3s early in the fourth,” Kerr said. “We had three or four open triples. One of the reasons we were open is because James was right on the rim as a lob threat. I think he also did a good job defensively, playing cat and mouse in the pick-and-roll. He has improved a lot, he has really improved a lot in the last few weeks with all the practices in Santa Cruz, the game action, the replays.”

Wiseman will remain with the Warriors during this trip, which means he will be available against the raptors, knicks Y networks. The return of Draymond Green would theoretically take him out of the rotation, but it’s possible he could get some of JaMychal Green’s minutes.

“You can see it gives us something that we don’t otherwise have: that lob threat, scoring threat around the basket,” Kerr said. “I like being able to play him and have him impact the games that are meaningful. That’s an important part of developing him. At the same time, we’re trying to win every game and it’s been tough.”

The next three weeks are all about survival for the Warriors. The Raptors have lost four games in a row. There’s a chance to steal a road win on Sunday and maybe take a division in New York back-to-back.

That would give them a boost ahead of an eight-game home series that includes dates against the pistons, hornets, Magic and fighting hawks. The Warriors don’t need to recite a hot streak. They just need to avoid a serious blackout that sends them well below .500.

“Weather the storm,” Thompson said. “We have done it before. We had to do it last year.”

(Stephen Curry top photo: David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

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