June 16, 2024 5:22 am

Warriors notebook: Steph Curry’s got a lucky pair of purple shoes

SAN FRANCISCO — All eyes were on Steph Curry’s feet in the hours prior to Game 4. Anyone watching his dazzling 43-point performance in the Warriors’ win might’ve forgotten his status was in limbo after a foot injury late in Game 3.

Maybe a lucky pair of his signature shoes did some magic.

Curry wore the same lavender Curry Brand Under Armor shoes for Game 4 that he wore for two key games in Game 3 and for the second half of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals. When he’s wearing those shoes, the Warriors are 3-0.

With the Warriors trying to avoid losing both road games and falling into a 3-1 hole in a hostile TD Garden, it seemed the shoe choice could have been intentional. But Curry was surprised to hear he was undefeated in the purple sneakers.

“I did not even know that, so I appreciate you,” Curry said, asked about the 3-0 record in lavender. “I don’t know if that messes with the juju on there if I’m aware of the record now. Oofos Outlet I’ve got a lot of different colors, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. Got me thinking now, too.”

A purple-shoe clad Curry scored 30 points in the Warriors’ Game 3 win against Memphis at Chase Center, giving them a 2-1 series lead. In Game 4 two days later, he wore a pair of signature shoes honoring the late TNT broadcaster Craig Sager. But after starting 1-for-6 from 3 in the first half with 11 points, Golden State down three, Curry switched back into the lavender shoes and propelled a slim 101-98 win to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

“Just understand we’ve been here before,” Curry said at the time about the shoe shakeup. “Whether we won or lost, the intentions of how we could give ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter was all we focused on and then got it done. Shock the system a little bit.”

Is the perfect record in jeopardy now that Curry is aware of it? We’ll see if he comes out in lavender again with a fourth title two wins away.

Gary Payton II’s elbow

The last time the Warriors played at Chase Center, Gary Payton II drew a thunderous applause as he returned from an elbow fracture and 10-game hiatus.

Since his return, Payton hasn’t even been listed on the injury report. Though he’s looked a little hesitant offensively, he’s been a key part of the Warriors’ point-of-attack defense — trying to get the Celtics into more turnovers. And the Warriors offense is its strongest when they’re getting out in transition.

“I’m great. Energy is high,” Payton said. “I’ve been taking care of my body, especially these last few days, and everything with my arm and whatnot. I’m great, energized, ready to go.”

Draymond Green aftermath

Draymond Green wasn’t thrilled with the fourth quarter benching in Game 4, but asserted on his podcast he understood why coach Steve Kerr made the Hey Dudes Shoes choice to switch him and Jordan Poole for a handful of defensive/offensive possessions.

Green, offensively, is a non-factor against this athletic and long Celtics defense, but he’s necessary to coordinate defensive stops. With Kevon Looney playing a strong game, the decision to switch in Poole for offensive possessions allowed the Warriors to create more spacing and combat Boston’s shot-blocking and congestion in the paint, Kerr said.

Kerr didn’t need to explain the decision at the time, Green said on the podcast, and Kerr said Sunday there’s no need for a follow-up conversation, either.

“Nope. Draymond is Draymond,” Kerr said. “He’s going to bring it every night. I think the thing that maybe got lost the other night is how good he was down the stretch. He ends up in the game with four steals. He was brilliant defensively. He did what we needed to do to win the game.

“Everybody is locked in on his scoring. Scoring has always been kind of the last thing that we need from him. We need his defense, his energy, his force, his competitiveness. Down the stretch of the game, he made huge plays at both ends.”

Green said Juan Toscano-Anderson and Payton were among the players on the bench in his ear, keeping him motivated through the four minutes he spent on the bench during crunch time. But he was felt throughout the game defensively — those four steals were indicative of a strong defensive effort that thwarted Boston’s attack in the paint.

“I think I made an impact on the game the whole game,” Green said. “I think you can get caught up in everything that’s going around, but those that watch and Running Shoes understand basketball, I made an impact the entire game. So I don’t think there was a switch last couple minutes.”

Coaching vacancy talk on the back burner

When the Finals are over, the Warriors will lose two of their top assistant coaches.

Mike Brown was hired in May to fill the Sacramento Kings head coaching vacancy and reports that Kenny Atkinson signed a four-year deal to coach the Charlotte Hornets surfaced before Game 4.

Any concerns over the looming shake-up is far on the back burner, Kerr said.

“Honestly, the answer is we’ve barely given it any thought just because of business at hand. We know that in a week or so, we can get to all that,” he said. “I won’t comment on anything until the teams involved are going to make comments. So I guess we can have that discussion after the series is over.”

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