Curry hurt in Warriors’ rally past Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS — The good news for the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors is that they managed to overcome a 21-point deficit on Monday night and posted a gritty 125-115 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The sobering news is that in the midst of a hockey-style second half in which Golden State forward Kevin Durant and Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins earned ejections for getting in each other’s face, Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who scored a team-high 31 points, badly sprained his right ankle diving for a loose ball with a minute to go and had to leave the Smoothie King Center on crutches.
Although X-rays taken after the game were negative, Curry has hurt the same ankle before, and he said this one, by comparison, is no bargain.
“I sprained my ankle and I’ll see how it feels tomorrow and kind of go from there,” said Curry, who had the foot in a gray walking boot. “Obviously, it’s the second situation, but ... this is more on the concerned side. I shouldn’t say that. It’s more on the ‘I won’t just bounce back tomorrow morning and waking up like, all right I should be (fine),’ just because of the swelling.
“I know I’ve been through this before on this ankle, and knowing the surgical repairs from like five or six years ago are fine, I should be able to bounce back.”
While coach Steve Kerr was proud of the Warriors’ 76-46 second half — which erased a 69-49 halftime deficit — he said his team has to show more composure. The Warriors have had a player ejected in each of the last three games. Durant also was ejected in a victory over Orlando last Friday, and guard Shaun Livingston was thrown out for arguing an official’s non-call in a won over Miami on Sunday.
“It’s absolutely too much,” Kerr said. “We’re not composed out there. We’re a championship team. We’ve got to be poised and we’ve got to execute. We’re getting way too emotional, myself included. We’ve got to show some poise when things aren’t going our way and stop worrying about everything else and just worry about the game.”
The Warriors (19-6) trailed by as many as 21 points late in the second quarter and by 20 at halftime, but they rallied to beat the Pelicans for the 20th time in their last 21 meetings. They are now 4-0 on a six-game road trip and 11-3 overall away from home.
The tussle between Durant and Cousins came with 74 seconds left and the game essentially decided, with Golden State leading 118-110. Durant and Cousins bumped into each other and Cousins shoved back with his arm and then walked away. Both players were yelling at each other and had to be separated before being ejected.
Durant, who scored 19 points but shot just 8-of-21 from the floor and 1-of-5 for long range, blamed himself for getting too emotional. He said the histrionics have gone too far.
“Yeah, yeah, early in the game, we got a couple of techs just arguing with the refs,” Durant said. “I think that took us out of the game, so we’ve got to just stay poised in those situations. I can’t let anybody — I can’t get involved with that type of stuff. I’ve just got to stay locked in and stay focused on the game.
“I’m not going to fight nobody. I don’t want to get injured. I don’t want to get suspended. I love to play. I love making money for my family, so I’m not trying to get suspended.”
New Orleans (12-12) was led by Jrue Holiday’s season-high 34 points and a career-high 27 points by guard E’Twaun Moore.
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, a former Warriors assistant, said he knew the Warriors would make a run despite being down by 20 points.
“They’re a great team, they’re the NBA champs,” Gentry said. “The thing that I keep telling our guys is that, as bad as this loss is — and I don’t look at anything as a moral victory — what we keep proving is that we have the ability to play extended minutes with the world champs. Now what we have to do as a team is that we have to now find a way to not do it for 32 minutes or 36 minutes, but we’ve got to do it for48, because that’s the only way you can beat that team. You’ve got to play for 48 minutes and you’ve got to be able to score 120 points to beat them.”
NOTES: Pelicans F Anthony Davis says he is still experiencing sharp pain from a left adductor strain and missed his second consecutive game. But New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said the good news the injury he suffered in a road game against Utah is not more serious. “The fact that’s he’s day-to-day is great,” Gentry said. “We’ll just work him out and rehab him and see where he is. Hopefully, it will be sooner more than later, but we’re still not going to take any chances.” ... Warriors C Zaza Pachulia did not play because of a sore left shoulder. ... Golden State coach Steve Kerr called the one-game suspension of G Shaun Livingston and the one-week suspension of referee Courtney Kirkland was fair for their roles in a head-butting incident Sunday in the Warriors’ 123-95 road victory over Miami. “I thought the league handled it well,” Kerr said. “I think it was the right decision, and we move on. ... It seemed pretty obvious that there was some contact, and both the official and the player were part of it and they are both being reprimanded.”