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Stephen Curry resumed full practice with contact and could
play for the defending champion Golden State Warriors as soon as Game 1 of the
Western Conference semifinals Saturday night against New Orleans.

Curry looked strong as he practiced Thursday wearing a protective brace over
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, which has sidelined him since the injury
March 23 – the same day he returned from a six-game absence because of a hurt
right ankle.

Coach Steve Kerr is calling Curry questionable for Saturday. That could
change if the two-time NBA MVP still feels fine Friday and is fine after one
more day of full practice before the Pelicans visit Oracle Arena to begin the
best-of-seven series.

”Steph practiced at 100 percent, he did everything, he looked good,” Kerr
said. ”What we have to do is see how his body responds the rest of the day, put
him through another practice tomorrow. I think he needs to string together two
good days but it was very positive today. … I think it’s been coming along
pretty well. When we were in San Antonio and I was asked a question about how he
was doing, I think I was able to give an answer, `He’s doing great but we
haven’t ramped him up yet.’ I think today was an important day because it’s the
first time he’s actually gone live action and he was allowed to go through
practice. And he appears fine.”

Curry went through his usual shooting work with Kevin Durant from various
spots after practice, cutting and exhibiting his fancy footwork and dribbling
skills. The Warriors have played well without their floor leader, eliminating
the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the first-round series with a 99-91 win
Tuesday night.

The Pelicans will present a different Gabriel
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, faster pace for the Warriors, so getting
Curry back to push the ball and direct the offense would be important. Andre
Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, started in the first round in his place while
Quinn Cook handled point guard duties late in the regular season with Curry
out.

”We’re excited. I know he’s very eager to play,” said Klay Thompson. ”He’s a
competitor, so sitting out I know kills him. We can’t wait for him to get back
whenever that is.”


A game behind the Philadelphia 76ers in the race for the third seed in the
NBA Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers long ago received a gift from
the schedulers: home-and-home matchups against the woeful and wounded New York
Knicks to end the regular season, starting Monday night at Madison Square
Garden.

Whether the Cavaliers can catch the scorching 76ers remains to be seen.
Philadelphia is the NBA’s hottest team with a 14-game winning streak — including
a 132-130 victory over Cleveland on Friday — and with games at Atlanta and at
home against Milwaukee still on the schedule.

But the Cavaliers have their eyes on that crucial prize, made even more
crucial by No. 2-seed Boston’s injury problems. A third seed would ensure a
second-round matchup with Boston or the No. 7 seed. A fourth seed could mean a
meeting with the No. 1 seed Toronto Raptors.

“I always think you try to take the easy way out Ryan
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, it’s always going to come back and bite you,”
Cleveland’s Kevin Love said after losing to Philadelphia. “Both teams played
extremely hard tonight, we both wanted to get the higher seed no matter who
we’re playing. Some matchups work in your favor, I guess, but I just think
taking the easy way out in some cases is not the way to go.”

The Cavaliers’ loss to the 76ers revealed a glaring weakness that seemed to
have been cured. Cleveland gave up 132 points.

The Cavs entered that matchup on a five-game winning streak and with wins in
10 of 11. The first five wins were scary — the Cavaliers allowed an average of
113 points per game — but in the six games before the loss to Philadelphia,
Cleveland had allowed 102 points per game.

“We’re a prideful team, and the only way to get back in was be scrappy, play
a little bit more physical and hit more shots,” James said. “We were down
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, and for us to come all the way back shows
what were capable of doing. But every offensive rebound here, every missed shot.
… We turned the ball over, they made us pay, and they were flying.”

Luckily for the Cavs — at least for the next two games — the Knicks are one
of the worst offensive teams in the NBA.

The Knicks have gone 4-16 in their last 20 games, averaging 105.5 points per
game, and that includes 128-, 124-, and 122-point nights. Remove those and New
York averaged 102.

Hurting the Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. (ankle) remains out.

Solution for New York: The emergence of rookie second-round pick Damyean
Dotson, a two-way player with the G-League’s Westchester Knicks. Dotson had 30
points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes in the team’s surprising 122-98 win over
the Miami Heat on Thursday.

“It’s amazing. Just trying to stay the course Brock
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, keep believing, keep working hard,” Dotson
told reporters after becoming the first Knicks rookie to put up a 30-10 game
since Patrick Ewing in 1985-86. “Eventually something good will happen. It’s
playing the right way, believing in myself, believing in the development, coming
from the G-League, coming from back and forth, playing.”

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