The Boston Celtics defeated the Golden State Warriors 110-88 on Wednesday night. But the talk during and following the game was the injury to Warriors’ MVP Stephen Curry. In the second quarter Celtics guard Marcus Smart dove for a loose ball while Curry was also chasing it. During the collision Curry injured his toe and missed the rest of the game. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was seen yelling at Smart after the play and postgame said it was a dangerous play.
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) March 17, 2022
“I thought it was a dangerous play,” Kerr said. “I thought Marcus dove into Steph, and that’s what I was upset about. A lot of respect for Marcus. He’s a hell of a player, a gamer, a competitor. I coached him in the World Cup a few summers ago. We talked after the game and we’re good. But I thought it was a dangerous play.”
Smart is a tough-minded, aggressive, physical player. That’s his superpower. Much the way Curry’s is his shooting ability. Smart goes hard every minute he’s in the game, and if there is a loose ball he is going to get on the floor to get that possession for his team.
That style of play can seem over-the-top to some or even dirty. But he’s not a dirty player.
“I saw the ball, I dove for the ball, trying to make a play,” Smart said. “Unfortunately that occurred. I’m sure I’m going to get called dirty. But I know who I am. … I play very hard and I leave everything on the court. … My teammates, my colleagues, they know I’m not a dirty player.”
Anytime a superstar player like Curry is injured on a play like what happened with Smart there is an overreaction. Superstars are not only vital to their teams, but the league. We never want to see them get injured.
Add in the fact that the play in question was caused by a hard-nosed player like Smart and that’s where the idea of “dirty” comes into play.
Kerr’s reaction was predictable and understandable in the heat of the moment. His star player is limping and didn’t return for the rest of the game. At once he saw the season’s championship goal flash before his eyes.
On the play itself you can see Smart locking in on the ball with tunnel vision. Curry similarly locked in but didn’t sacrifice his body to come up with the ball. That’s not a criticism, just a fact. Had Curry sold out for the loose ball first, Smart would’ve been called for a foul.
Curry’s teammate Draymond Green spoke about the play after the game and said he would expect Smart to make that play. But he stopped short of calling it dirty.
“I’d expect Marcus Smart to make that play. He plays hard,” Green said. “I can’t call that a dirty play. As unfortunate as it is … maybe unnecessary, but that’s the most I can call it. Unnecessary. But I can’t call it a dirty play. The ball is on the floor. At every level of basketball we are taught to dive on the floor and go after the ball. That’s what Marcus did. So I can’t call it a dirty play. I will say it was probably an unnecessary dive.”
Now the Warriors play the waiting game on Curry and when he can return from this injury. He had an MRI and X-ray, there was no fracture or major damage, according to Shams Charania.
Warriors star Stephen Curry has been diagnosed with a sprained ligament in left foot that will sideline him indefinitely, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. X-rays on the foot returned negative Wednesday night – meaning no fracture or major damage, a sigh of relief.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 17, 2022
But he will be out indefinitely and the Warriors title hopes are now riding on the health of Curry’s left foot.