Stephen Curry Scores 38 Points vs. Grizzlies in Return from Ankle Injury

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 31, 2017

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) gestures after scoring during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Stephen Curry showed no signs of rust with 38 points in the Golden State Warriors' 141-128 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.   

Playing in his first game since suffering a sprained ankle on Dec. 4, Curry hit a season-high 10 three-pointers and shot 76.5 percent overall in just 26 minutes. 

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Curry's points-to-minutes ratio through three quarters against the Grizzlies was the best in the NBA this season:

Even though Curry spent most of his time firing up shots from beyond the arc, his first made basket was on a driving layup with an assist from Draymond Green that showed his ankle wasn't going to be a problem:

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr outlined the plan to manage Curry's minutes before the game started.

"I'd be shocked if we didn't keep him under 30," he said, via Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group. "If we don't, it's my fault. My plan is to play him in six- or seven-minute bursts."

The Warriors' performance as a team made it easy for Kerr to stick to that plan. They were up by 16 with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter when Curry was taken out of the game, though he briefly returned for three minutes in the fourth quarter to add one final three-pointer to his stat line. 

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Curry had no problems slipping back into the rhythm of Golden State's offense, like he did with these two shots in the final minutes of the first half:

The Warriors scored at least 38 points in each of the first three quarters with Curry on the floor. They didn't score 30 points in any quarter of Friday's loss against the Charlotte Hornets. Overall, the Warriors went 9-2 in Curry's absence. 

It's easy to take for granted what Curry brings to the Warriors because they also have Green, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. The two-time NBA MVP leads them in scoring with 26.3 points and ranks second with 6.6 assists per game

Golden State's 141 points were its second-most of the season, trailing only its 143 output against the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 24 in a game that Durant and Green sat out. 

The Warriors had already moved into the top spot in the Western Conference standings by two games without Curry for nearly four weeks. His return only solidifies their standing as the team to beat heading into 2018.