Warriors guard Stephen Curry didn’t miss a beat in his long-awaited return to action on the court during Game 2 of Golden State’s playoff clash with the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. The two-time M.V.P., who had been out for 5 ½ weeks to recover from a knee injury, was welcomed back to roaring cheers and “MVP” chants from Dub Nation. Although the Warriors were not hurting for Curry’s return, having handily won all but one of their games in these NBA playoffs without him, his presence was felt strongly as he made an immediate impact to aid the team in beating the Pelicans again, this time 121-116.
ESPN reports: “In his return from a Grade 2 MCL sprain that he suffered on March 23, [Curry] played like his usual self, as he went for 28 points and seven rebounds in his postseason debut. It was the most points scored by a Golden State reserve this postseason — after the surprising announcement 20 minutes before tipoff that Curry would be coming off the bench….It didn’t take the two-time NBA MVP long to remind the fans what they’ve been missing for a month and a half. After only 11 seconds, Curry came off a flare screen and swished a left-wing trey. The sold-out crowd erupted with cheers and applause. ‘Eleven seconds is all it took?’ Curry responded to ESPN. ‘Wow. I didn’t know that. But when it left my hands, I knew it was good.’ [Coach] Kerr said it ‘didn’t surprise me. That’s who he is.’ And then a little over a minute later, the marksmen dribbled the ball off of his foot and was close to catching a backcourt violation — however, he chased it down, took three dribbles and drilled a deep 32-footer. He was back.”
Steph demolished any concern as to his strength of play in his comeback debut. Now, with the Warriors back at full strength, all that is needed for them to continue in this winning way through the remainder of the playoffs is sustained focus and non-complacency, as fellow star team-member Klay Thompson warned earlier in the week.
– Dante Spellman