While the injury-plagued Golden State Warriors are hoping to have Stephen Curry available, Jarrett Jack, David Lee and Klay Thompson appear more than capable of carrying the load for the time being.
Having Andrew Bogut back should also help matters.
With Curry uncertain to suit up, Golden State tries for a sixth win in eight games Thursday night against the visiting Dallas Mavericks.
Averaging team highs of 21.0 points and 6.4 assists, Curry missed Tuesday's 108-95 win at Cleveland after twisting his right ankle the night before. It's unknown how much time Curry, who underwent surgery on that same ankle in each of the past two offseasons, is expected to miss.
The Warriors (28-17) likely aren't in any hurry to rush him back after Tuesday's win. Jack, who started in place of Curry, had 26 points and a career best-tying 12 assists while Thompson scored a career-high 32 on 13-of-24 shooting.
"I had to channel my inner Stephen Curry," said Jack, averaging 17.0 points and 8.9 assists over his last eight games.
Lee also came up big Tuesday with 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for Golden State, which went a season-best 11 for 16 (68.8 percent) from 3-point range.
"That's a big-time win," coach Mark Jackson said after watching his team wrap up a 2-2 road trip. "That's a statement game for us. I'm extremely proud of my guys. It would've been very easy to chalk one up (a loss) because we were short-handed, but I challenged them - and they stepped up."
The Warriors were also without Carl Landry (left shoulder contusion), starting forward Harrison Barnes (knee) and Bogut on Tuesday. While Landry and Barnes are both uncertain to return Thursday, Bogut is expected back.
"No matter who is out there, we're still going to play Warriors basketball," Lee said.
After missing 38 straight games due to a troublesome left ankle, Bogut returned to post 12 points, eight boards and four blocks in 24 minutes during Monday's 114-102 win at Toronto. The former No. 1 overall pick, who likely won't play in back-to-back games until after the All-Star break, could become a difference maker down low for Golden State, which is averaging 37.9 points in the paint and 4.1 blocks to rank near the bottom of the league in both categories.
"It's been a long season for me so far, a frustrating season both mentally and physically," he said Monday. "Just to be out there running up and down the court again, and especially getting a win, was very satisfying."
The Mavericks (19-26) surely felt just the opposite as they opened a four-game trek with Tuesday's last-second 106-104 loss at Portland. Dirk Nowitzki compiled a season-high 26 points to lead all five starters in double figures, but Dallas was outscored 12-3 over the final 1:37, including LaMarcus Aldridge's game-winning turnaround jumper at the buzzer.
"We make those mistakes, especially on the road, and you are going to get bit," Nowitzki said. "This type of loss is about as tough as it gets in the league. We played well enough to win it. We found a way to lose, instead of finding a way to win. That's the sad thing."
The Mavericks figure to be in for another tough test against a Warriors team that's won 13 of 17 at home.
Golden State had dropped six straight in the series before taking three of the last five, including a 105-101 overtime win at Dallas on Nov. 19. Curry had 31 points in that game while Thompson finished with seven on 2-of-14 shooting.
The Warriors are 17-2 when Thompson shoots at least 42.0 percent from the field compared to 11-15 when he doesn't.
The Associated Press News Service
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