Warriors: Andrew Wiggins’ injury, Draymond Green center dilemma and Steph Curry’s magic

Andrew Wiggins’ injured left foot puts his status in question heading into the final three games of this road trip. The Warriors wing came up hobbling after appearing to twist his ankle late in the first half and didn’t return for the second half of the Warriors’ OT loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

X-ray results came up negative, coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game, but classified the injury as a sprained foot in a diagnosis relayed by director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini.

Wiggins, who is a team-worst minus-143, was starting to round into shape with Draymond Green’s return to the fold from his indefinite suspension on Jan. 15. With Green at center, Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga have settled into their defensive roles guarding opposing teams’ best and twitchiest scorers.

Wiggins’ presence was missed during overtime, when Kuminga fouled out and Kerr had to throw out his best defensive positional lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, rookie Brandin Podziemski, Lester Quinones and Green. Wiggins has played in 42 of the Warriors’ 46 games this season.

Draymond Green’s impact

The Warriors looked to be turning a corner with Green taking up the majority of minutes at center alongside one of Kerr’s best go-to lineups he’s had this year. Green anchors a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Kuminga that is a plus-20 in 13 games played together (84 minutes).

But there’s a catch that showed itself in the back-to-back OT loss against Atlanta. Green is the team’s best defender against the league’s big, bruising and skilled bigs that he took on over the last week including Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, Domantas Sabonis and Clint Capela. The wear-and-tear showed in Atlanta, where their big tandem of Capela and Onyeka Okongwu combined for 31 of the Hawks’ 57 rebounds. Wing Jalen Johnson contributed 13 rebounds of his own and Green looked a little worn for the task at hand.

Schedule has some to do with it, but moving forward the Warriors have to consider the sustainability of keeping Green at center for every meaningful minute. Struggling Kevon Looney has been reduced to a minor role off the bench and rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis is still planting his feet in the NBA to take on big responsibility. Four days remain until the trade deadline, and it could be a priority to add some size and relief at center.

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Steph Curry’s magic

Curry’s 60-point masterpiece went to waste with an overtime loss, but it was magic nonetheless and a statistical sticking point for the 35-year-old’s career.

He was two points shy of his career high 62 scored against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2021, but joined Kobe Bryant as the only two players over the age of 35 to score at least 60 points in a game. Bryant’s 60 came in the final game of his career in 2016, he took 50 shots and made 22.

Curry also made 22, going 22-for-38 from the field and 10-for-23 from 3. It marked Curry’s 13th career game with at least 50 points, too. Curry’s 22 points in the fourth quarter were the most he’s scored in a fourth quarter in his career. He previously scored 21 against the Houston Rockets in 2022. It was his 40th career 20-point quarter.

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