Jarrett Jack ended up mostly running the show in place of Stephen Curry. With a tweaked ankle, Curry was playing off the ball as a set shooter in the Golden State Warriors' offense during Sunday's Game 4 win against the San Antonio Spurs. But it was Jack who had time to admire the young point guard's grit, so much so that he made the comparison to Isiah Thomas' one-legged performance in the 1988 NBA Finals.
Before the game and after receiving a pain-killing injection, according to USA Today's Sam Amick, Curry told Warriors coach Mark Jackson, "I'm going to give you what I got, coach."
"That's not the language he speaks," Jackson said. "That's dialogue, that's conversation that we don't normally hear."
But Jackson trusted Curry enough. He took the ball out of the injured point guard's hands and played him 39 minutes of a 97-87 overtime win. Jackson said he thought about pulling Curry at times, but he was busy producing 22 points on offense, including five three-pointers, all while appearing capable of playing enough defense to get by.
"Watching him warm up, I said, 'No way this kid playing,' " Jack said. "The performance he put on down the stretch ... I just sat back and honestly was in awe."
Curry got off to a hot start. He hit two threes in the game's opening minutes, but for stretches worked as a decoy while Jack and rookie Harrison Barnes went to work. Barnes scored 26 points to lead Golden State, and his shot volume took a big leap. Meanwhile, Jack put in 24 points with the ball in his hands more. Neither role player said they especially were looking to take more shots -- with Curry not getting as many touches, that was simply the result.
"I didn't need to read a Phil Jackson Zen book or nothing like that," said Jack, who took criticism after the Warriors' Game 3 loss. "My role on the team is the same."
Still, Curry was there when it counted. He added a couple jumpers to get the Warriors out of the halftime break and back into the game, and his and-one in the overtime period pushed the Warriors to a 9-0 spurt to begin the extra five minutes.
That was enough to take the game and tie up the conference semifinals series.
"You could see he was not as aggressive," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. "But he made a couple big buckets in overtime. He's a player, you see him playing with one leg, one arm, but you have to guard him. He's that type of player."
Source: Quotes via NBA.com's live postgame interview stream.
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