The Golden State Warriors proved they're a team still capable of winning without Steph Curry after beating the Houston Rockets 115-106 in Game Two of their first-round playoff series as their leading scorer watched on from the bench.
The point guard sat out the game with the ankle injury he picked up in the Game One win on Saturday.
Coach Steve Kerr took the decision to not risk his superstar and he wasn't forced to regret it as Shaun Livingston stepped in and proved an able deputy.
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With the Warriors now leading the series 2-0 and firmly in control, it wouldn't be a surprise if they decided to shut down Curry for the remaining matches in order for him to fully recover.
However, Kerr says that the player's health and not the series score will determine whether he takes to the floor again or not.
"We'll see how he responds the next couple of days, and if he's not right, obviously being up 2-0 does give us more cushion if we decide to sit him. But it will be based on his health, not the series score," Kerr said post-game.
"I'd like to think if it were 1-1 and he was still not able to play, we wouldn't play him. We'd never want to put winning ahead of a player's career and his health. We've seen teams do that and paid for it. Players have paid for it in the past. So we want to make sure Steph is right and his [ankle] is fine and healthy."
"We've seen teams do that and paid for it. Players have paid for it in the past. So we want to make sure Steph is right and his [ankle] is fine and healthy."
The reigning MVP now has until Thursday to prove his fitness ahead of Game Three when the series switches to Houston.
Without Curry in the lineup, Klay Thompson took on the scoring responsibility, posting 34 points in the win. Livingston added 16 points and six assists and Andre Iguodala dropped 18 points off the bench.
Regarding Steph's chances of returning for the next game, Kerr said: "It's really what the training staff says and what Steph says about how he's feeling."
Throughout his tenure with the Dubs, Kerr has repeatedly stated how he allows his star players to have an input into his decisions on the court and he revealed how he and Curry had a long conversation before mutually deciding to sit him out and how best to approach things.
"We had a good conversation before shootaround, and Steph is a very rational person. He's easy to speak with, and we kind of went over the different scenarios," Kerr said.
"He understands we have, first of all, his best interests at heart -- his career. We know that he had surgery on that ankle four years ago. He has a lot of basketball ahead of him.
"There's plenty of cases in the past where people played through stuff, and it didn't turn out so well -- Grant Hill being the one that always jumps out at me -- and whether that's the same type of thing as this, I don't really know. But I do know that we have to look after his health because the competitor that he is, he's going to want to play."
With the 28-year-old's previous issues with his ankle, the franchise, and its fans are collectively holding their breath as they hope it isn't the start of another barren spell of injuries for their prized asset.