OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry remains questionable, due to an ankle sprain, and Klay Thompson says he's preparing as though Curry will not play. Of Curry's status, Andrew Bogut said, "We're in a position where we'll probably be smart." Translation on what "position" means: We're playing the Houston Rockets, and might treat this like a random game in December.
This is not to deem Houston untalented, as they are largely the squad that made last year's Western Conference finals. It's just hard to ignore their vocal feuding, and harder still to believe in future cohesion. Curry is moving fine, by most accounts, even if he is missing practice and shootaround. Indications are that he could play if he wanted.
Another translation: If he doesn't, it likely illustrates something about how Golden State views the Rockets. If Curry does sit out Game 2, we actually have a decent preview of how the Warriors will approach this. We already saw the Warriors play the Rockets, sans Curry, in a Dec. 31 road win.
In that game, Draymond Green was the fulcrum of the offense, racking up 16 assists (Klay Thompson wasn't half bad either, scoring 38 points). A good example from the first quarter of that game: Green shovels a pass to Thompson, and then screens his defender, James Harden. Harden switches onto Green as the forward spins into the high post. Shaun Livingston cuts behind a distracted Trevor Ariza for the easy layup.
The offensive attack against Houston seemed to be informed by the Rockets' well-known lapses. The Warriors repeatedly entered the ball (to Green or Livingston) and attempted to cut behind snoozing Rockets. It worked well, as did Andre Iguodala's decision to race past the sluggish Houston transition defense. Iguodala scored two free buckets by beating the Rockets down the floor after basic defensive rebounds (Houston wasn't out of place from crashing the offensive boards. The Rockets just didn't bother to get back).
Golden State has proved to have a Steph-less plan of attack, but it requires Houston's cooperation. While the Warriors, sans Steph, may indeed be better than the Rockets, they are not the more talented team. This might be why Iguodala says that missing Curry could be "good for us." The increased difficulty will require a higher level of focus. Multiple Golden State players have spoken of needing to move the ball more in Curry's absence.
Without the cheat code, they must beat the Rockets as a collective. This is especially so if the Rockets remember how to play as one.