Monday, April 25, 2016

Curry or Not, Here We Come

Officially now, Steph Curry is out and his injury will be evaluated in two weeks.  He slipped on a wet court near halftime of the fourth game in Houston of the first round of playoffs.  He'd already missed two games with an ankle injury, with the Warriors winning one and losing the third game by a single point, on a shot that the NBA later said shouldn't have counted.

 But in that 4th game, the Warriors played an impassioned third quarter and were deadly accurate from threeville. They blew out Houston to come home leading 3 games to 1.

It wasn't only that they pulled together and knew what to do without Curry.  It's also that they saw his tears when he couldn't play.

Now the Warriors face at least another game against Houston and an unknown number of games against their next opponents without their MVP.  About the injury, the two weeks is not definitive, one way or the other.  It's probable some sort of evaluation will be ongoing, and taken seriously in one week.

The Warriors are unlikely to blow through opponents, but they are capable of winning this and the next series without Steph if necessary.  That became really evident Monday night when Portland tied their series with the favored Clippers.  And after some Clippers seemed to greet Curry's injury with glee, they lost their own star--Chris Paul--for an even longer time, with a broken hand. Blake Griffith also left the game injured.

Klay Thompson will have to step up and nobody else can be injured. Now the depth of this team, and especially the things they do in practice that they don't get to do in games, will be front and center. The Warriors are coming, and other teams should beware.  Steph Curry's tears may not be as strong as his court presence, but they are going to make a difference.

It depends on how the conversation starts.  How about those Giants? means the SF club is playing well and winning.  What about those Giants? means something else.

The Miami Marlins came to town just in the nick of time, after the Giants were swept at home in a four game series with Arizona.  But their inability to score a tying run with the bases loaded and no outs spoiled what should have been a sweep against a much weaker team.  (Though the Marlins beat LA the next night.)

Still, that series exposed the main weak point of the Giants now.  The Marlins, the Padres are relatively weak teams especially in the bullpen stocked with rookies coming and going through the swinging door.  Unfortunately though, so are the Giants.

Some of these kids are stars of the future, but it's not the future yet.  In the present the Giants are depending on them, and so the late innings of every game are suddenly up for grabs. The remaining (uninjured) veterans are not so dependable either. And third year Hunter Strickland is so far not turning out to be the closer in waiting he was hoped to be.  The starting rotation is getting into a groove, and the young arms in the bullpen are showing flashes of brilliance, but things still are askew.

It's certainly not all bad.  Casilla got his 100th save, Angel Pagan is having a career month, and Gregor Blanco continues to be excellent whenever called upon. And maybe it's that I'm getting too used to the brilliance of Duffy, Panik, Pence etc. but somehow, so far this year, this team still seems out of synch.  Maybe it's just April.

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