Even without Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors shouldn’t have a problem moving on to the conference semifinals, where they’ll face the Los Angeles Clippers. Hold up. Maybe by pure coincidence, and perhaps through something different, Chris Paul is hurt, maybe out of the playoffs. This changes everything.
Curry sprained his knee in the game 4 win over the Houston Rockets. Basically, he’s had one game of basketball out of four, playing in two first halves so far while missing two games. He’ll be out for two weeks following the MRI result, and the Warriors will decide on what to do next after the two weeks are up. Now the Rockets look broken, or at least easy to break, even without the best player in the NBA this season. But someone else could be more difficult.
Cue the Los Angeles Clippers. Last season they were talked about as the team the Warriors would struggle with in the playoffs, but they never made it to the conference finals. This season they’re on a collision course for the conference semifinals. The Clippers looked comfortably heading there with a 2-0 lead over the Portland Trail Blazers. But they’ve dropped their last two games, and Paul has broken a bone in his hand, which could mean he’s out for the playoffs.
The Warriors aren’t as good without Curry as they are with him, even if they blew out the Rockets when he wasn’t playing. It’s common sense. It changes their entire offense, and keeps a player who draws the attention of two defenders at all times against most teams off the floor. And yet there’s something that works so smoothly about this team even in his absence that it’s hard not to think of them as championship contenders, regardless of his presence. You can’t say the same thing about the Clippers. Without Paul, especially when Blake Griffin is not 100% and playing badly since coming back from his injury.
And then there’s this: Suggesting someone is watching over the Golden State Warriors from above. While Curry getting injured isn’t exactly a sign of some divine intervention, but some can see it as more than a coincidence that Paul broke a bone in his hand a day after Curry injured his knee. Suddenly, all the fear of facing a team like the Clippers without Curry is gone. He’ll still be out, but the Clippers without Paul aren’t that frightening, if they even manage to beat the Portland Trail Blazers without him.