“I’m feeling more and more like myself when it comes to maintaining the level of intensity needed to get things done on the court,” Curry said Thursday during the shootout. “I’m ready to take more minutes tonight and make them useful.”
What exactly the increase looks like remains to be determined. In the first two games of this best-of-seven series, Curry is averaging about 23 minutes per game in a bench role.
The plan is to keep Curry off the bench until his minute load has been increased enough for him to play his normal rotation.
After a month-long absence with a foot injury, Curry came off the bench in Game 2 and scored 34 points to lead Golden State to a 126-106 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.
Curry said he takes a different approach to the night when he comes off the bench – particularly his mindset preparing to play. He changed his pre-game routine to not get too adrenaline pumping before sitting out for the first five to six minutes of the game.
“Usually you do everything for the opening tip,” Curry explained. “I did that first game and then I sat on the bench and I was – I don’t even know – the leg was shaking, I couldn’t control myself. My routine had to be changed a bit so that I can be ready for the middle of this first term.”
Every time Curry returns to the starting lineup, the Warriors will have decisions to make. Jordan Poole, who excelled in his first two playoff games at Curry’s starting position, could return to a bench role, or Golden State could move Andrew Wiggins to second unit and start a three-guard formation with Curry, Poole and Clay Thompson.
According to Draymond Green and Kerr, this is a “great problem to have”.
“We have a lot of guys who are capable of starting and making big minutes,” Kerr said. “I’ve spoken to Jordan, to young players – just embrace the role… it doesn’t matter if Jordan starts or comes off the bench, he’s going to play a lot of minutes.”
Curry added: “I hope I’ve demonstrated that ultimately it doesn’t matter (who starts). It’s about who’s in that closing formation, but also when your number is called, be ready to go. “
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