NBA

Curry 'got stronger as game went on' upon return from injury in Warriors loss

By Sports Desk March 06, 2023

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry felt he "got stronger as the game went on" as he returned after 11 games out from a leg injury in the Golden State Warriors' 113-105 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Curry, playing for the first time since February 4, scored 27 points on eight-of-20 shooting from the field, making five of 13 from three-point range. The reigning NBA Finals MVP also had two rebounds and six assists.

The Warriors guard was inconsistent throughout the game, failing to score in either the first or third quarters, but he did add 19 fourth-quarter points to lead Golden State's charge down the stretch against their Western Conference rivals.

"I felt like I got stronger as the game went on," Curry told reporters.

"I felt great. I missed the first two wide-open ones. I felt like I was in rhythm for the most part. Hopefully I continue to get better as we go forth from here."

The battle for playoff spots in the Western Conference remains wide open, with the Warriors fifth with a 34-31 record, while the Lakers are 11th with a 31-34 record.

Golden State put together a late-season charge to propel them on to win the title around this time last year, but Curry does not see too many parallels.

"The biggest difference is we didn’t start out 18-2 [last season]," Curry said.

"We're still fifth. We have an outside shot at trying to get home-court advantage. It feels weird to say it, but we're trying to win a championship but also trying to stay out of the play-in, too."

Curry's return coincided with the Warriors' five-game winning streak coming to a halt, when many expected him to help their momentum. He said the team would need to adjust to having him back in the line-up.

"The way the guys have been playing over the last five games and the stretch that we had at home, it's a tough transition for everybody," Curry said.

"It's just guys trying to keep their rhythm, keep their confidence. That's our challenge as a team.

"We have to maintain trust in each other because we are all aiming for the same goal – to win at the highest level. I understand everybody has to be a part of that. It's not just about me coming back."

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    Russell was the star of the show for the Lakers in their 116-104 triumph on Monday, sinking five 3-pointers in a 26-point haul.

    Anthony Davis backed Russell up with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while LeBron James added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

    The Lakers have now won 10 of their last 14 games, while the Thunder were knocked off of their perch at the Western Conference summit.

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    "That team has got everything you need to win and to be efficient at this level. You've got to be ready to play against those guys. It's no fluke [to beat them]."

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    The Lakers managed to keep Shai Gilgeous-Alexander under wraps, limiting him to 20 points, ending a run of eight successive 30-point performances for the Thunder's talisman.

    "Our start was good offensively, but our overall sharpness just wasn't there," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault reflected.

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    The Thunder were replaced at the top of the West by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-114.

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