NEWS What’s next for the struggling Warriors after Stephen Curry’s shoulder injury?

The Athletic

INDIANAPOLIS — About 30 minutes after the Warriors trailed 13-2 on the road, Stephen Curry sat in front of his locker in Indianapolis, his left arm hanging by his side, motionless. Trainers wrapped a huge ice pack over the top and back of his injured shoulder. The already shaky situation of the Golden State Warriors has been thrown into even greater turmoil.

Curry, who scored 38 points on 38-of-19 shooting late in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers, burned so much that he delayed returning to the locker room to catch his breath at halftime. He scored 27 points, but his team trailed by 20.

Curry was part of a quick third-quarter comeback. The Warriors started Jonathan Kuminga in place of Kevon Looney and switched to a smaller, faster, more spread-out offense that cut the Pacers’ lead from 20 points to five in less than six minutes. Curry scored 11 points on Jalen Smith’s drive and finished with 38 points from the game, grabbing all the balls while inadvertently taking another rough detour for the Warriors’ season.

Curry immediately felt pain in his left shoulder. He grabbed it, fell from the game, stumbled to the scorer’s table, and ended up on the bench after the Warriors called a timeout. After a brief chat with the team’s director of medical services, Drew Yoder, to confirm his discomfort, Curry walked to the locker room with their chief medical decision maker, Rick Celebrini.

This is the moment.

In that clip, you can see Curry’s left arm stays still. It still hangs like that when Curry hangs out in the locker room after the game, before and after he ices. He is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday and is scheduled to travel to Philadelphia with the team. The test will give them a firmer idea of ​​a possible timetable, but the feeling from those around the team after the game is that injuries will force some sort of multi-game absence that could carry over to the rest of the road. trip.

“Maybe it’s going to get tougher if Steph is out for a while,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I mean, it’s definitely going to be tougher if he’s not there. But we just have to hang on. You just keep playing, keep fighting.”

This is not a frustrated postgame locker room. Aside from the extra discomfort and treatment, Curry was in a normal mood. Assuming the tests don’t show more damage than initially expected, this could just be a speed bump. But before their best player fell, the 14-15 Warriors were already facing serious challenges. It’s gotten trickier lately.

What’s next?

It will be a big stretch for Jordan Poole

When Curry went down with a sprained foot in March, Jordan Poole rose to a whole different level. He led the NBA in three-pointers made in March and April, averaging 24.7 points per game on 47.3 percent of his shots overall and 41.9 percent of his threes.

The Warriors don’t necessarily need him to reach that peak, but they need Poole to be more efficient and protect the ball than he’s been lately. Against the Pacers, Poole went 8-for-22 with four turnovers. He started the trip against Milwaukee with four turnovers on 6-for-17 shooting. He has made just five of his past 23 3-point attempts.

“The biggest thing we’ve tried to do with Jordan is slow down,” Kerr said. “He’s just in a hurry. He’s got so much ability. I think sometimes it’s the guys with the most ability when they’re young that make the most mistakes because they’re trying to learn what they can and can’t do. He’s so talented, So quick, so cunning that he often got himself into trouble.”

Are we seeing more Moses Moody?

Despite the absence of Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson, the Warriors didn’t go for Moses Moody in the first 18 minutes against the Pacers. Kerr had two-way player Ty Jerome ahead of Moody in the initial rotation.

But the Warriors struggled with Jerome, Anthony Lamb and JaMichael Green on the floor. They were minus-17 in Jerome’s first nine minutes on the pitch. That prompted Kerr to throw Moody out there. In his first few minutes on the floor, he hit a corner 3 and stole a layup. Trailing by 20 at halftime, Kerr rearranged his third-quarter rotation, with Moody being the first player off the bench.

Moody finished the game with 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting, three assists and a few other assists. Both Moody and Kuminga, who started in the second half, were key to keeping the game competitive and came close to stealing the win. Green and Donte DiVincenzo were also instrumental.

“I’m really happy with how he played,” Kerr said when asked if Moody won more games. “He got his chances and made the most of them. Every game is different. What gets tricky this year is you have different guys, different combinations and a lot of newcomers. So we’re trying to find the right combination. But Moses did a good job and I think he’ll play in the next game.”

Thompson will return for Friday’s game against the 76ers. Wiggins is due to be reevaluated Thursday, with his return up in the air. So it might be hard to find Moody’s significant minutes on the wing, but it’s hard to imagine him not earning a higher spot in the pecking order than Jerome.

So what is a non-Curry rotation?

If Wiggins can return as soon as possible, it will be Poole, Thompson, Wiggins, Draymond Green, Rooney’s starting lineup. Kuminga continues to make up a bigger part of the rotation, and Kerr said Wednesday that Kuminga is an option to start if they decide on a faster style and need a different look.

After Kuminga, DiVincenzo is shaping up to be the most reliable option off the bench. Starting Wednesday night in place of Thompson, he had 15 points and eight rebounds, hitting two clutch 3-pointers to keep the Warriors in the lead late. They were plus-19 in DiVincenzo’s 38 minutes and minus-24 in 10 minutes off the bench.

“My focus is not on the offensive end,” he said. “I figured it out. But when I put pressure on the rim, good things happen. When I can go downhill, I can let other guys shoot, the defense is scrambling, and the ball can find me again. When you do it the right way When you’re playing basketball — and that’s the right way to do it, in my opinion, the drive, the kick and the swing, all those moves — that’s when the guys make good shots.”

He has also become one of the quiet leaders in the locker room.

“We need more energy,” DiVincenzo said. “When things don’t go our way, when the phone doesn’t go our way, Golden State has a standard game. I think the biggest message is that we have to play like the damn Warriors. That is the most important thing. We have to have that energy.”

What is the schedule?

The Warriors, who are 2-13 on the road, end their longest trip of the season with these four games: Sixers, Raptors, Knicks and Nets. The last two games will be played back-to-back next week, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then they have an extended break before starting eight home games against the Grizzlies on Christmas Day.

(Photo of Stephen Curry grabbing his shoulder during the second half against the Pacers on Wednesday night: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY)

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