Steph Curry’s heroics carry Warriors again, but workload is not sustainable

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Steph carrying Warriors again is heroic, but it’s not sustainable originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — Breathtaking, sensational, otherworldly. Throw a handful of words into a hat and pick them one by one.

None would match what Steph Curry did Monday night, willing the Warriors to a 116-113 win at Chase Center over the Sacramento Kings. Now comes the downside to his heroics.

“Take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt,” Draymond Green said after the win. “It was very Game 4 of the NBA Finals to me. He just wasn’t going to allow us to lose.”

In Game 4 of the Finals, Curry saved the Warriors season when they were down two-games-to-one to the Boston Celtics, scoring 43 points with 10 rebounds and seven 3-pointers at TD Garden. His career has been full of Hall of Fame moments. Game 4 is near the top of the list.

But Monday night was the 11th game of the regular season, against a three-win Kings team with much less rest than Golden State. The Warriors needed Curry to play 38 minutes of near-perfect basketball. He made 17 of his 24 shots and six of his seven 3-point attempts while adding eight rebounds and eight assists.

Since the NBA began tracking turnovers in the 1977-78 season, Curry became the first player ever to score 47 points with eight rebounds and eight assists without turning the ball over once.

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By halftime, with the Warriors trailing by 12 points, Curry had scored 22 points. No other Warrior was in double figures. Curry was 8-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 from deep through the first two quarters. His teammates were 13-for-35, and an ugly 1-for-11 on 3-point attempts.

The fourth quarter, of course, was Curry time. He sat the first two minutes, and then scored 17 of his 47 points in the final frame, going 6-for-8 from the field and making two of his three 3-pointers.

“It was obviously necessary, but it’s not sustainable,” Steve Kerr said.

And that’s true for more than the show Steph gave the home crowd.

Klay Thompson also had to play 38 minutes. Draymond Green gave the Warriors 36, and Andrew Wiggins led both teams with 40 minutes. Wiggins also had to be perfect in the fourth quarter for the Warriors to be victorious. Literally.

Wiggins looks every bit the part of a player on his way to a second straight All-Star Game.

His fourth-quarter performance, though, also isn’t sustainable. Playing all 12 minutes, Wiggins scored 13 points, going 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. His second 3-pointer cut the deficit to one point, and his third cut it to two points.

Curry and Wiggins combined to score 30 of the Warriors’ 37 points. They made 11 of their 13 shots, and five of their six threes.

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“That fourth quarter was kind of win-at-all-costs mode,” Curry said. “Just trying to make plays. Thankfully shots went down, but we needed some results.”

The Warriors’ other top scoring options, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, fell flat. Thompson went 1-for-5 in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over twice. He was coming off his best game of the season, scoring 27 points with seven 3-pointers in Orlando, but sat the next night and continues to struggle finding any kind of consistency.

Poole missed his only shot in the fourth quarter, and was nowhere to be found throughout the night. He scored two points, took only four shots and committed three turnovers. Two-way player Anthony Lamb attempted two more shots than Poole, who is paid to get buckets. Between his last four games, Poole made five 3-pointers and turned the ball over 17 times.

Navigating his new role as the Warriors’ Sixth Man, Poole’s game has been lacking juice and the swagger that had Dub Nation on its feet last season. He was back to the practice court getting shots up Monday night. Work ethic isn’t in question.

Following their comeback win against the Kings, the Warriors don’t play again until Friday against the 8-2 Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors are off Tuesday, and Wednesday should be a big scrimmage day. Kerr and co., with their evolving rotations, have to find a way to get Poole going. He’s the key to a second unit that has struggled mightily, and that’s putting it lightly.

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Curry putting together a Finals-esque performance, and Wiggins being perfect when it mattered most, propelled the Warriors to their fourth win of the season and snapped a five-game losing streak. That deserves the cheers and applause that rang throughout the home arena.

It also isn’t a recipe for long-term success.

RELATED: Draymond compares Steph’s takeover vs. Kings to Finals Game 4

Two former lottery picks sat in the first quarter as two two-way contract players were given minutes. James Wiseman, the No. 2 pick from the 2020 draft, received his first DNP (Did Not Play) of the season. So did JaMychal Green, someone who was seen as a key free-agent addition. Thompson’s roller coaster has been more off track than on, and the doors still are waiting to be open for a Poole party.

Alarms don’t have to be deafening quite yet. However, eyes should be open and ears should be perking up right now. Steph will save the Warriors again. Even with him, there’s a limit.

His bravado brought the Warriors back in the win column. It also has to be clouded by how untenable this kind of success plan is over a long period of time.

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