Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr strongly denied a report that claimed NBA MVP Steph Curry is still injured and playing at only 70 percent.
“Nobody has said anything about Steph being 70 percent to me,” Kerr said, via ESPN. “Training staff, relatives, friends, sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking — nobody has told me he’s 70 percent. Evidently they told the media but not me.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports was told Curry is “playing at 70 percent, at best” after Golden State’s Game 4 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The league’s first unanimous MVP has shot only 41.9 percent from the field in the Western Conference finals, while also averaging 4.3 turnovers. Over two blowout losses in Oklahoma City, Curry hit 13-of-37 shots overall (35.1 percent), including a 5-for-21 mark (23.8) from three-point range.
During the regular season, Curry shot 50.4 percent overall and 45.4 from three.
Kerr adamantly denied Curry was still hurt, but the Warriors coach admitted missed time from Curry’s knee injury earlier in the postseason could be playing a role in his slumping performance now.
“I know he’s not injured — if he were injured, he would not be playing,” Kerr said. “Is he bothered a little bit, perhaps by the layoff when he went three weeks without a game? He may not be quite where he needs to be, but it’s not an injury, and that’s the important thing.”
Curry sprained his MCL in Game 4 of Golden State’s first-round matchup with the Houston Rockets and missed four games. He has shot 45.2 percent and averaged 27.7 points since returning.
The Warriors return home for a do-or-die Game 5 on Thursday night. The team took Wednesday off to “refresh,” according to Kerr.
A win could help turnaround the series, but to advance back to the NBA Finals, the Warriors will need Curry at his MVP best over the next three games.
Over three regular season games against the Thunder, Curry averaged 35.0 points, made 18 total threes and dissed out 20 assists. Whether he’s completely healthy or not, Golden State might require a three-game run from Curry resembling those numbers to come back and knock off the streaking Thunder.