NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana) • The good news for the reigning National Basketball Association (NBA) champions Golden State Warriors is that they overcame a 21-point deficit on Monday night and posted a gritty 125-115 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The sobering news is that in the game in which Golden State forward Kevin Durant and Pelicans centre DeMarcus Cousins earned ejections for getting in each other's faces, Warriors guard Stephen Curry - who scored a team-high 31 points - badly sprained his right ankle diving for a loose ball with a minute to go and had to leave the Smoothie King Centre on crutches.
Although X-rays were negative, he has hurt the ankle before. "I'll see how it feels tomorrow and kind of go from there," said Curry, who had the foot in a grey walking boot.
"I know I've been through this before on this ankle, and knowing the surgical repairs from like five or six years ago are fine, I should be able to bounce back."
While coach Steve Kerr was proud of the Warriors' 76-46 second half - which erased a 69-49 half-time deficit - he said his team have to show more composure.
The Warriors have had a player ejected in each of the last three games. Durant was also ejected in a victory over Orlando last Friday, and Shaun Livingston for arguing over an official's non-call in a win over Miami on Sunday.
"It's absolutely too much," Kerr said. "We're not composed out there. We're a championship team. We've got to be poised and we've got to execute. We're getting way too emotional, myself included.
"We've got to show some poise when things aren't going our way and stop worrying about everything else and just worry about the game."
The Warriors (19-6) trailed by as many as 21 points late in the second quarter and by 20 at half-time, but they rallied to beat the Pelicans for the 20th time in their last 21 meetings. They are now 4-0 on a six-game road trip and 11-3 overall away from home.
The tussle between Durant and Cousins came with 74 seconds left and the game essentially decided, with Golden State leading 118-110.
They bumped into each other and Cousins shoved back with his arm and then walked away. Both players were yelling and had to be separated before being ejected.
Durant, who scored 19 points, blamed himself for getting too emotional.
"I've just got to stay locked in and stay focused on the game," he said.
"I'm not going to fight nobody. I don't want to get injured. I don't want to get suspended. I love to play. I love making money for my family, so I'm not trying to get suspended."