While the Golden State Warriors received somewhat hopeful news regarding the shoulder injury to star Stephen Curry, the eight-time All-Star still will be out of action for Friday’s road game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Curry was diagnosed with a labral injury in his left shoulder, according to The Athletic, and will be re-evaluated in two weeks as he is set to miss consecutive games for the first time this season.
Curry sustained the injury with 2:04 remaining in the third quarter of what turned out to be a 125-119 loss on the road to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. After a steal attempt against the Pacers’ Jalen Smith, Curry clutched his shoulder and left the court.
The injury is not the best of news for a team that is 2-13 on the road this season, but the diagnosis could have been worse for the defending NBA champions.
“Steph is always a guy with a great outlook on life, so he’s in good spirits,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.
Curry scored 38 points before leaving the game and appeared on his way to 50.
Andrew Wiggins sat out for a fifth straight game Wednesday with an adductor strain, while Klay Thompson was out because of rest on the second leg of a back-to-back.
“This has been a tough stretch, and … it will for sure get tougher,” Kerr said. “But we’ve got to persevere. You just keep playing and keep fighting. It’s a long season. The thing I am confident about is that if we’re healthy, we feel like we can beat anybody.”
While Joel Embiid’s production has been the biggest reason for the Sixers’ three-game winning streak, he’s not the only one making key contributions to the recent success.
Enter James Harden.
Since returning from a strained tendon in his foot, Harden has steadily improved. In fact, Harden became the first player in Sixers franchise history to score at least 15 points and hand out 15 assists in consecutive games when he reached those numbers Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets and Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.
Harden joined Maurice Cheeks (twice) as the only two Philadelphia players ever with 15 or more assists in consecutive games.
Harden had 21 points, 15 assists, seven rebounds and five steals in a 123-103 victory over the Kings.
The correlation to the rise in Harden’s numbers can be tracked to head coach Doc Rivers having his guard set up in the low post more often. It has created some much-needed spacing between him and Embiid.
“That’s something we’ve worked on and it can be something really good for us: The post-up to the pick and roll,” Rivers said. “That tight pick and roll is a hard play to guard. And James, it’s funny, we talked about it this summer. Now that he’s doing it, Joel and him have a pretty good rhythm and that can be a really great down-the-stretch play for us.”
Embiid led the way with 31 points Tuesday and is now averaging a league-best 39.2 points across his last five games, dating to Dec. 2.
“James is doing a great job of getting everybody else easy shots,” Embiid said. “I’m just fortunate that my shots are going in and my teammates are doing a fantastic job of moving the ball and being in the right spots.”
Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey (fractured left foot) will be sidelined for a 13th consecutive game.
–Field Level Media