BOSTON – With the Boston Celtics dominating the NBA Finals with a 2-1 lead for the series after beating the Golden State Warriors 116-100 in Game Three on Wednesday, the discussion in the aftermath centered on Al Horford’s role in the Warriors star injury. Stephen Curry’s left foot late in the fourth quarter.
The veteran big man has been criticized for diving into Curry’s leg while chasing a loose ball. Curry cried out in pain, according to teammate Draymond Green. The MVP was knocked out twice in the remainder of the game, although coach Steve Kerr said that had nothing to do with the injury.
Curry walked with a noticeable limp as he left the arena, and Kerr said the team will learn more about the extent of the injury on Thursday.
Golden State and Care players have stopped reprimanding Horford, but fans on social media were already calling it a “dirty play.”
Celtics defensive specialist Marcus Smart has defended his teammate from the social media backlash.
“It’s the finals. You have guys diving everywhere. Their guys diving into us. We don’t say anything,” Smart told Yahoo Sports. “We get hurt too, but we keep playing. Nothing is intentional. It’s the finals. We try to win just like them. The first player on the ball, as we all know, wins. They can complain all they want. it is what it is. There is nothing dirty about it. It’s fair game. It’s fair basketball. It’s the basketball finals. …No one here is trying to harm anyone.”
Horford told Yahoo Sports that the situation was unfortunate.
“He has nothing to do with Steve,” Horford told Yahoo Sports. “I saw the ball and tried to play. We are trying to win the game. I don’t think there is anything [controversy] there.”
Green picked up his sixth mistake by pushing Horford away from Curry.
“I saw him move around and that was about that. So I picked up my foul that pushed him because he was screaming at the bottom of the pile,” Green said during his post-match media address. “That is what it is. I’ll take the error. I’m going to get him off his legs, though. It’s all good.”
Curry said after the match that he felt the injury resembled the sprained foot he suffered in March, as well as against the Celtics. Smart pigeon to get a ball in that game. Curry missed the remainder of the regular season.
Wednesday was asked if he thought Horford’s play was reckless.
“I haven’t seen the play, so I don’t know if it could have been avoided or not,” he replied during his post-match speech. “I was in the same situation with Marcus back in the bay, and you just want to get out of there. That’s all I was trying to do at that point knowing what position I was in. For what I’m feeling, it wasn’t that bad. So I hope he responds. well over the next two days.”
Although Curry stumbled a bit to the bus, he said he expects to wear the Game 4 uniform on Friday.
“I don’t feel like I’m going to miss a match,” Curry said. “So, I’ll take the next 48 hours and get ready.”