The 2016 NBA playoffs started over the weekend, and Game 1 is over in all eight series. For results, there weren’t any major surprises unless you consider Indiana beating Toronto in Game 1 of their series such (I don’t). Other than that result, the higher seed won each opener.
However, where the higher seeds are 7-1 in Game 1s this year, that doesn’t mean that all the winners went unscathed. The Golden State Warriors suffered what seems to be a minor injury to their star player. Steph Curry missed some minutes against Houston on Saturday thanks to a hurt ankle. According to Scott-Howard Cooper at NBA.com, the likely MVP from the regular season remains “questionable for Game 2.”
A decision on whether to rest or play Curry will have to be made before game time on Monday night by Steve Kerr (7:30 pm PT, TNT). However, resting Curry is certainly the right move if there is any significant risk to his ankle at this point. Kerr will come under major fire if Curry plays and aggravates his injury further.
The Rockets did not threaten the Warriors in Game 1 as GS posted a comfortable 26-point spread. If they play without Curry in Game 2, one that will come from Oakland, then they should still win. This Warrior team has depth, and they have experience playing without Curry as he suffered some setbacks in the regular season as well.
However, even if Golden State lose Game 2 all it will likely do is set up a 5 or 6 game series for them. That’s certainly not ideal but when measuring the risk of losing Curry long term, resting him in Game 2 is the proper move. While home games in the playoffs are never throw-away games, if anyone can surrender home-court advantage in a series and still be considered heavy favorites, it’s the Warriors.
Resting Curry appears to be all the more smarter of a decision based on the fact that Game 3 of the series does not take place until Thursday. That means that missing Game 2 will give Curry several day’s rest between games. If the injury is as minor as it seems, the reigning MVP will be back to 100%.
In other injury news, the Boston Celtics weren’t so lucky when it came to the loss of one of their players. Avery Bradley “sustained a severely sprained right hamstring” in his team’s loss to Atlanta on Saturday. Bradley is known for his defense, and he is likely out for the rest of the Atlanta series. With Kelly Olynyk already battling a ‘what-goes-around-comes-around’ shoulder injury, the Celtics’ chances for success seem to have tanked.
Their Game 2 against the Hawks goes on Tuesday night with a 7 pm ET start on TNT. Although they were able to battle the Hawks to a 1-point loss, Brad Stevens now has his work really cut out for him when it comes to solving Atlanta in Game 2.