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OAKLAND – The tactical suggestions did not work. The positive reinforcement did not work, either.
So when Stephen Curry fell into foul trouble once again during a recent game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr asked him a pointed question.
“Steph, where is your mom?” Kerr asked.
After Curry pointed about 10 rows up behind the bench, Kerr looked at Sonya Curry and yelled, “Tell him not to foul anymore.” Even that tactic did not work.
In the Warriors’ 104-100 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday at Oracle Arena, Curry collected five fouls. So much for Kerr asking mom for help when Curry had four fouls in the Warriors’ Game 4 win over the Los Angeles Clippers last week in their first-round series. After recording two fouls in Game 5 and 6 against the Clippers, Curry heard the whistles once more in Game 1 against Houston.
“If his mom can’t get through to him, I’m definitely not going to get through to him,” Kerr said. “Maybe I’ll try Dell this time. I’ll try dad.”
Curry vowed that “I’m going to figure it out eventually.” But when? Curry will not have much room to test the whistles in this series. Not against James Harden, who both seeks foul shots by initiating contact and also criticizing officials for not rewarding him with free throws after he landed near Warriors’ defenders.
“There’s no reason I should be in that position after how many questions I’ve been asked about it, how disappointing it is when I mess up the rotation with fouls,” Curry said. “So we won the game tonight. I got away with it, but got to be better.”
Just like when the Warriors lost in Game 2 against the Clippers, Curry collected his fourth foul late at a time that could have cost the Warriors. Kerr replaced Curry with Shaun Livingston with 4:34 left in the third quarter in hopes to preserve Curry for the fourth.
Instead of squandering a 68-67 lead, the Warriors closed the quarter out with an 83-76 cushion with Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala all filling in fro Curry’s vacancy.
Once Curry opened the fourth quarter, he played just as aggressively. And even with the reaching, Curry somehow avoided another foul. If only Curry could do that for most of the game.
“There’s going to be calls that go either way every game,” Curry said. “But the ones, like I talked about, where blatant reaches, those are ones that I can avoid, for sure. That’s where you get.”
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