NEW ORLEANS — The Warriors, from ownership all the way down to interns, tend to be protective of Stephen Curry. Understanding his value to the team and the franchise, they tend to take action when someone goes after him.
Such as what happened Friday night, when Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo made an attempt to injure Curry on a play less than three minutes into the first quarter.
Less than three minutes into Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Curry went up for a jump shot that missed. Trailing the play after being screened by JaVale McGee, Rondo came up behind Curry and used his right foot to swipe at his left ankle as he came down after the shot.
“It’s just a dangerous play,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Saturday after practice. “It’s a dangerous play.”
After viewing video of the play, the Warriors were bothered enough to report it the NBA discipline chief Kiki Vandeweghe, who was at Smoothie King Center for Game 3. Not that they expect Rondo to face any actual discipline from the league.
“We’ll probably send it in and… it’s not going to do anything,” Kerr said, “but hopefully they just keep an eye out for it.”
Regardless of any action by the league, NBA players are willing to seek their own form of justice. With Rondo already engaged in several heated exchanges with Draymond Green, the veteran point guard shouldn’t expect hugs and handshakes from the Warriors when the teams meet Sunday for Game 4.
“Draymond’s done a good job of handling his business,” Kerr said. “Rondo is a competitor and they’re competing. I don’t see anything wrong with it, other than the tripping. Can’t do that. I’m all for getting underneath a guy’s skin, but you can’t try to step on a guy’s foot or try to swipe a guy underneath his feet as he’s shooting. Those are dangerous plays.”
After watching video of the incident for the first time, Kevin Durant, who minutes earlier indicated that all is fair in postseason basketball, couldn’t bring himself comment.
“What do you want me to say about that?” he said.
The video speaks for itself.
Rajon Rondo with two obviously dirty plays trying to take out the ankles of both Steph Curry and Draymond Green? 🧐🤔🤦🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/HwBzZoXwQa
— Warriors Talk (@JaeAzizi) May 5, 2018
Though Rondo’s foot made contact, there was no apparent ill effect on Curry, who didn’t seem to notice it.
Some of his teammates surely did, either Friday night or at some point Saturday, even though they chose not to directly address the issue.
Asked about that particular play, Green deflected it.
“I think Steph will have a better shooting day tomorrow,” he said. “KD will have a better shooting day tomorrow. Klay (Thompson) will be even better than he was tomorrow. And I think we’ll do what we came here to do, which is win the game.”
Don’t be surprised, though, if in Game 4 the Pelicans, and Rondo in particular, face considerably more force from the Warriors. More physicality. And not just to win the game.