Curry’s injury presents OKC Thunder with an opportunity to move up

Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots a three point basket in front of OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2): Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots a three point basket in front of OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2): Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s trade week in the NBA with the OKC Thunder not expected to be active in deals but they’ve got a busy week ahead nonetheless. They hit the road for three destinations and the first stop finds them visiting the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

OKC finished the month of January in a match against the Dubs that witnessed Stephen Curry go off for 38 points. Mark Daigneault won’t have to worry about in this specific visit as the superstar injured his leg in the Warriors contest on Saturday versus the Luka Doncic-less Mavs.

That’s not great news for the champs because Curry already missed 11 games due to a shoulder subluxation. During that injury stint, the Dubs kept their heads above water posting a 6-5 record.

This injury will keep Curry sidelined for “multiple weeks” per Shams Charania.

It’s sort of vague “multiple weeks” but by the same token, we can cut the Warriors some slack considering what happened in recent history. All players and teams deal with these types of injury situations but the Dubs haven’t had the best experiences with leg injuries.

Kevin Durant tore his Achilles during the 2019 NBA Finals and Klay Thompson tore his ACL only to return and also suffer a torn Achilles. Suffice it to say, we can cut the Warriors’ medical staff some slack if they elect to err on the side of caution.

Thunderous Intentions sends out healing vibes to Steph and hope for an expedient return.

OKC Thunder get an opportunity to move up facing the Warriors without Curry

In the interim, this opens the door a bit for the OKC Thunder as the first team that will play the Warriors since Curry’s injury. Something else of note, is Draymond Green was visibly limping at the end of the game Saturday. Aside from Steph, there isn’t confirmation of who’ll dress as neither team has submitted their injury report yet.

Steve Kerr had already stated before that contest he wanted to ease up on the playing time for both Curry and Green given the load they’ve been carrying. It puts them in a tough spot because they sit in seventh a game above .500.

Both the OKC Thunder and Warriors are lumped into the West’s parity pack where 11 teams are separated by 5.0 games from the third-place Kings all the way down to the 13th-place Lakers.

Removing the top and bottom of that group leaves nine teams separated by just 3.0 games including the Thunder. Diving in deeper once more, only 1.5 games separate the eighth-place Warriors and 12th-place Thunder.

In essence, that means any loss/victory by two of those teams can flip the entire board.

For the Thunder this week features three teams within this parity pack so if the Thunder were ever going to rip off a winning streak this would be the week to do it.

Just because Steph is out, the Thunder can’t afford to get complacent because the Dubs still feature sniper Jordan Poole, 3-point specialist Klay Thompson and all-purpose wing Andrew Wiggins who’ll present ample challenges.

It’s also vital to try to jump on the Warriors early because the Thunder will be traveling to LA to complete a back-to-back set featuring the Lakers. That game is bound to be full of emotion as it could be a historic night the kind where you remember where you were ‘when it happened’. Of course, I’m speaking of LeBron James’ pursuit of the all-time scoring leader.

And, it sure looks good for the Thunder to be the team he does it against (if he scores 36 points). OKC will have a front-row seat if it happens and end up being the answer to a trivia question if it does.

However, before we get there, the OKC Thunder need to take care of the Warriors.

Another minor note – – Curry’s injury will keep him out of the All-Star Game so he’ll need to be replaced in the starting line-up and that means one of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Ja Morant is likely to be tapped as the replacement.

Let’s cross our fingers that it’s Shai to make his All-Star debut even more special.

Next. A cautionary tale for the OKC Thunder and developing teams. dark