Charlotte Hornets at Golden State Warriors (-10)
The Golden State Warriors (31-2, 16-0 Home) have been without point guard Steph Curry (leg) for the better part of three straight games. The team hasn’t said if the reigning NBA MVP will be on the floor tonight when they host the Charlotte Hornets (17-16, 4-9 Away) at ORACLE Arena (10:30 PM Eastern), but it might not matter.
The Warriors looked like a shadow of themselves in the first tilt that Curry sat out, falling 114-91 at Dallas. But they rebounded against the Rockets, winning 114-110 in Houston, and then edged Denver, 111-108 (OT) on Saturday. Curry was dressed against the Nuggets, but continued to be bothered by the same leg injury and left after 14 minutes.
“I just re-injured the same thing, so I’ll be alright,” Curry the Associated Press told after the game. “I know exactly what it is. Whenever you hurt something, and you try to play through a little bit of discomfort and just get out there, it’s usually a magnet for something to happen.”
Curry is officially questionable for tonight’s game. The Warriors are set to get Harrison Barnes back, though. The small forward has been out of the lineup since late November with a sprained ankle. Barnes was averaging a career-high 13.4 PPG before being sidelined.
The Hornets, who finished 33-49 last year, are off to a surprisingly strong start, currently sitting a game over .500. But the squad has been much better at home than on the road this season. They haven’t won outside of Charlotte since Dec. 11, dropping four straight since then.
In their last road game, they lost by double-digits to Toronto (104-94). Then they returned home and fell to Oklahoma City (109-90), dropping their overall record to just 2-6 in the last eight games.
Despite the winning record and strong play of Kemba Walker (19.2 PPG, 5.0 APG), the team is currently one game behind the Boston Celtics for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets are dealing with injury problems of their own and have listed three players as questionable for Monday: starting guard Nicolas Batum (toe strain), reserve guard Jeremy Lin (ankle sprain), and backup center Spencer Hawes (low back tightness).
“Obviously we’re missing some guys but our energy level is good … it’s just our defense and our rebounding,” coach Steve Clifford told the AP. “When we start to get our defense going again, then we’ll win again.”
Golden State is 5-2 SU in its last seven games against the Hornets and dominated their first meeting of the season, 116-99 (covering the spread as nine-point favorites). If Curry can suit up, they should be full value to cover again. But keep an eye on the news leading up to tip off and steer clear if Curry isn’t going to go.
Pick: Warriors (-10).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Stephen Curry) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)