Is Steph Curry Really Back?

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It took all of 10 seconds to answer the question.

Stephen Curry made his highly anticipated return from a left knee injury with 4:20 left in the first quarter of Tuesday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the New Orleans Pelicans. By the time the clock ticked past 4:10, Curry had already unfurled his first three-pointer. As it splashed through the net, the Oracle Arena crowd unleashed a roar that had been bottled up for over a month.cheap nfl authentic jerseys

The answer was yes, after a five-week layoff rehabbing his Grade 2 MCL tear, Curry was feeling confident. An immediate catch-and-shoot three from the left wing off a feed from Draymond Green. Was there any doubt? cheap authentic nfl jerseys

Actually, yes. Those closest to Curry—the professionals who know him and his body better than anybody—collectively wondered how Curry might look in his return. They didn’t need to look under the hood to get a sense of Curry’s health; they just needed to see how quickly he’d strike.

Ten seconds in, Curry’s long-time personal trainer and Accelerate Basketball owner Brandon Payne got his answer, leaving no doubt how Curry was feeling.

“He’s good,” Payne texted Bleacher Report from his lower-bowl seat at Oracle Arena moments after Curry’s first three.cheap nfl jerseys from china

In the week leading up to the game, Curry and Payne talked about the importance of making the first one to get into the flow early.

“Then it would be all downhill work from there,” Payne assured him.nfl cheap jerseys

Curry doesn’t want this season to end the same way it did in 2016, the last time he injured his MCL. That one was a milder case, a Grade 1 sprain in his right knee, but the MCL is critical to Curry’s game. The MCL stabilizes and supports the knee during lateral movements, which is a central weapon in Curry’s arsenal. Damaging it can not only cause pain but also limit mobility when trying to juke an opponent and create space for a jumper.

With a return in sight last week, Curry texted Payne to come out to the Bay Area and help sharpen his rhythm and his mind. And Payne, who has worked with Curry in concert with the Warriors’ medical and training staff, which is currently led by Chelsea Lane, since 2011, obliged. Curry would practice with the Warriors during the day and just after he put his two kids, Riley and Ryan, to bed at home, he would head to a Walnut Creek gym about 20 miles east of the arena. Payne would be waiting with his staff, which had made the trip from Charlotte to facilitate the workouts.

Donovan Mitchell, Balanced Jazz Even Series vs. James Harden, Rockets

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The Utah Jazz rebounded from a sluggish series opener and knotted the Western Conference semifinals at one game apiece behind a balanced 116-108 Game 2 win over the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on Wednesday night. authentic nfl jerseys cheap

While the Jazz offense looked overmatched throughout a 110-96 Game 1 loss, head coach Quin Snyder’s side had a response ready with a chance to steal a game on Houston’s home floor.

Swingman Joe Ingles led a group of six double-figure scorers with a playoff career-high 27 points, while rookie Donovan Mitchell fought through some shooting struggles (6-of-21 from the field) to finish with a 17-point, 11-assist double-double. nfl jerseys for cheap

“He’s a handful,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters about Mitchell after the loss. “Whether he’s scoring or not, he’s a handful.”

Those contributions, combined with a 46.9 percent shooting display from three-point range, allowed Utah to establish a solid scoring foundation.

Plus, a steady diet of buckets—including 17 points from Alec Burks and 15 from Jae Crowder—gave the Jazz the freedom to play the game at their pace.

Instead of engaging in a run-and-gun showdown cheap nfl jerseys  straight out of Mike D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less playbook, the Jazz were able to parlay their improved offensive efficiency into a slower, less frenetic tempo that favored their personnel, as the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen observed:

Thanks to that stylistic shift, the Jazz limited Houston to five fast-break points and 10-of-37 shooting from three a game after the Rockets drilled 17 shots from beyond the arc.

And while the Rockets fell behind by 19 in the second quarter, they were able to dictate the game’s cadence more in the third when they outscored Utah by eight and took the lead for a few brief stretches. However, Utah refused to let James Harden (nfl jersey cheap 32 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds) and Chris Paul (23 points, five rebounds, three steals) grab a 2-0 series lead.

“That’s in our character, to withstand the run,” Mitchell told TNT’s Kristen Ledlow after the win. “In OKC in Game 5, we were up about 20, about the same score, and we let the lead go. So we couldn’t do that again. Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Joe Ingles, everybody stepped up and played well. I’m so proud of those guys.”cheap nfl jersey

The Jazz, improbable as it may have seemed after Game 1, will now aim for a 2-1 series lead when Game 3 tips off Friday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.