Curry's return can provide Warriors' offense much-needed restart

Curry's return can provide Warriors' offense much-needed restart originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – There is hope, maybe, that on Saturday the Warriors can start looking more like the team they believe they are.

Stephen Curry, who missed the last two games with soreness in his right knee, returned to practice Friday, lifting the spirits of a squad whose struggles intensified during his brief absence.

“He looked like Steph,” veteran big man Kevon Looney said. He looked good. At this level, guys are great at hiding if they’re hurt, so I don’t know if he felt great. But he looked great.”

Curry’s return is not a sure thing – coach Steve Kerr said he is “questionable” for the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday at Chase Center – but even the possibility is enough to bring optimism to the overall vibe.

Coming off their fifth consecutive loss, an exasperating 128-109 blowout to the Thunder on Thursday, Golden State is in such dire straits they will welcome any boost that comes their way.

There wasn’t much to like about losing by 19 to a young OKC team that shot 59.4 percent beyond the arc while holding the Warriors to 40.8 percent overall, 34.1 percent from distance.

“Some nights, teams are going to shoot well and that’s just the story,” coach Steve Kerr said. “For us, there’s plenty we have to get better with. Our pick-and-roll defense was not ideal. And, then offensively, we could see some disjointed possessions where our spacing and cutting wasn’t great.

“We worked on all that stuff today, watched a lot of film and had a really productive day.”

The evident truth about the Warriors is that their offense can’t reach its peak without Curry. As Kevin Durant noted during his time with Golden State, “Our offense is Steph. Steph is our offense.” Curry is the most essential ingredient to the creation of quality offense.

That fact is amplified by the ongoing shooting woes of Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins. They combined for 17 points on 7-of-23 shooting on Thursday and are a combined 39-of-115 (33.9 percent) during the losing streak.

Wiggins, a nine-year veteran said he never has endured such a long dry spell on offense.

“Shots are not falling right now,” Wiggins said. “But I’m still trying to stay aggressive, do whatever I can to help the team win, whether it’s rebounding or defending. Just trying to take care of that side of the game.”

With Wiggins and Thompson struggling, the entire team is scrambling to fill the void. It’s not going well and was particularly ineffective on Thursday.

“The biggest thing was when we had advantages, we didn’t get off the ball enough,” Kerr said. “We would draw two and then didn’t kick the ball out or pull behind the play and not give our passer an outlet. Just too many possessions where we weren’t solid offensively and didn’t recognize the advantage we had.

“It’s obviously harder to create an advantage without Steph, but we have to be able to do so.”

Fingers are crossed throughout Chase Center and the Warriors are hoping Curry can suit up Saturday and wake up the scoreboard.

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