Pacific Notes: Curry, Dinwiddie, Carlisle, Clippers

Stephen Curry was on the bench for nearly an 11-minute stretch Sunday night as the Warriors dropped a crucial game in Minnesota, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Curry checked out of the game with four minutes remaining in the third quarter and didn’t return until midway through the fourth quarter. He scored 31 points in 30 minutes, but Golden State couldn’t recover as its lead slipped to one game over Houston in the battle for the final play-in spot.

“We can’t expect to just ride Steph game after game after game,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ve put the burden of this franchise on his shoulders for 15 years. We can’t expect him to play 35 minutes … If you want to say that him playing 30 minutes instead of 32 is a difference between a win and a loss, I totally disagree with that. We’re trying to win the game. And we’re trying to keep him fresh, too.”

Kerr was determined to not overwork Curry after he played 35 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter, in Friday’s loss to Indiana. Curry said he wants to play as much as he’s “fresh and able to,” but he didn’t question Kerr’s decision.

“The situation will define itself in real-time,” he said. “Every game matters as we’re inching closer to the other end of the standings we never thought we would be in. No one is going to wave the white flag and say we are mailing it in. If that means playing more minutes, I’ll be ready to do that.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • With D’Angelo Russell sidelined by an illness, Spencer Dinwiddie made his second start since joining the Lakers and delivered 26 points in a win over Indiana. He talked to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter video link) about finding a role in L.A. after signing with the team last month. “It’s just about reading the room and understanding you’re a part of something bigger,” Dinwiddie said.
  • Pacers coach Rick Carlisle became the latest opponent to complain about a foul discrepancy after playing the Lakers, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. L.A. shot 38-of-43 from the free throw line in the five-point victory, while Indiana was just 9-of-16. “There were certain things that were impossible to overcome,” Carlisle said. “The 27-free-throw differential is one. The 17-foul differential is the other. And I’ll leave it at that.”
  • The Clippers are in danger of squandering home court in the first round after losing Sunday to the shorthanded Sixers, notes Kevin Baxter of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. is just a half-game ahead of fifth-place New Orleans. “We talk about it every day,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Not taking shortcuts and doing it the right way. And so I think they’re frustrated as well. I mean, it’s embarrassing. When you come in minus Joel Embiid, (Nicolas Batum) sits out tonight and you’re playing at home, you have to take advantage of those type of things. You keep talking about it. But at some point, you’ve got to do it.”
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