Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart didn't see anything untoward when teammate Al Horford dove for a loose ball and injured Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry during Boston's 116-100 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.
Horford landed on Curry's left foot during the sequence, and the Warriors star appeared to be the worse for wear. Speaking with Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, Smart thought Horford made a natural basketball play:
"It's the Finals. You've got guys diving all over the place. Their guys are diving into us. We don't say nothing. We're getting hurt as well, but we continue to play. Nothing is intentional. It's the Finals. We're trying to win just like them. First one to the ball, as we all know, wins. They can complain all they want. It is what it is. There's nothing dirty about it. It's fair game. It's fair basketball. It's Finals basketball. … Nobody is out here trying to hurt anybody."
Curry opened his postgame press conference by saying he was in a bit of pain but expected to suit up in Game 4 on Friday. He added it's the same injury (a left foot sprain) he suffered in a game against Boston during the regular season.
Curry also told reporters he hadn't seen a replay of the loose-ball scramble, so he didn't want to draw any conclusions about Horford's intentions or whether the veteran big man was reckless.
In the case of his previous foot sprain, the two-time MVP was injured March 16 and missed the remainder of the regular season before returning for the postseason April 16.
Even if it's a more minor sprain this time, Curry's health could be a major storyline in the series. While he may be healthy enough to play, one full day of rest may not provide the time necessary for the foot to not bother him.
With Golden State down 2-1, the team could be in trouble if the 6'2" sharpshooter isn't at his best.
Warriors fans are probably having flashbacks to the 2016 Finals when Curry seemed to be less than 100 percent as the Cleveland Cavaliers completed their improbable comeback.
Should history repeat itself, Horford's fall is likely to take on an added significance and be even more of a sore point for many in the Bay Area.