The Golden State Warriors watched one of their MVPs go down with an ankle injury and saw the other one ejected from the game but still managed to knock off the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. The Warriors expect to have one of them back when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.
It’s unlikely to be a happy homecoming for Stephen Curry, who grew up in North Carolina and puts up big numbers during Golden State’s annual visits, after he suffered a sprained ankle in Monday’s 125-115 win at New Orleans. “I always look forward to that trip,” Curry, who left the arena in a walking boot and on crutches but had x-rays come back negative, told reporters of Charlotte. “And playing in that arena and playing in front of people that seen me grow up. ... Hopefully my fans show up and support the other guys if I’m not out there and we have a good game.” The Hornets snapped a four-game slide with a 104-94 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday but shot just 40.5 percent from the floor, including 3-of-17 from 3-point range. The Hornets entered play on Tuesday 26th in the league in field-goal percentage (.443) while Golden State (.514) leads the NBA.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (19-6): Forward Kevin Durant was ejected with 1:14 left in Monday’s game after an altercation with Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins - the third time he has been tossed this season. “I got to be more focused, I got to be more poised,” Durant told reporters. “I can’t let anybody take me off my game. I’ve been in the league too long. Especially somebody like Cousins, we know that he’s feisty, we know that he’s emotional. We know that he plays that way, so I can’t get involved in any of that. That’s who he is. I got to be me.” Golden State, which is averaging 127 points during a four-game winning streak, was already without backup point guard Shaun Livingston on Monday after he drew a one-game suspension for making contact with a referee.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (9-13): While the Warriors were losing their star point guard to an injury, Charlotte was getting its back as Kemba Walker scored 29 points on Monday after missing two games with a shoulder injury. “I feel like when I’m around things are different, and then when I come back, it changes,” Walker told reporters. “That’s the kind of guy I am. I’m the leader of this team. My team goes as I go.” Walker put in solid work on the defensive end in his return as well, grabbing three steals as the Hornets forced 20 turnovers in the win.
1. Warriors SG Klay Thompson is shooting 61.1 percent from the floor over the last four games.
2. Hornets C Dwight Howard (12,361) grabbed nine rebounds on Monday to move into 19th place on the all-time list.
3. Golden State took the last six in the series, including three straight at Charlotte.
PREDICTION: Warriors 123, Hornets 111