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The Warriors are experiencing

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    December 3, 2018 11:25 PM PST

    one of their worst blips in a five-year dynasty filled with mostly happiness Womens Brandon Fusco Jersey , rings and three-point swooshes. Just days after Draymond Green and Kevin Durant clashed, resulting in Green’s suspension, the Warriors played one of their least inspiring games of the KD era, losing to the Rockets by 21 points. Through the mess, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the Warriors need one thing above all: a healthy Stephen Curry.Three of the Warriors’ four losses this season have come in the absence of Curry, who’s expected to miss more than a week longer to a groin injury. And the team’s record without him pales in importance to the morale boost he brings to a volatile assortment of hot-headed co-stars. “We’re banged up a little bit physically, and right now we’re banged up spiritually,” head coach Steve Kerr said after the team’s loss to Houston. “There’s no getting around that.”Before we completely write off the Warriors, here are some episodes they’ve survived over the years:Draymond Green and Steve Kerr’s shouting match in Feb., 2016Draymond Green getting suspended during the 2016 FinalsStephen Curry’s untimely knee injury A previous KD-Draymond on-court war of words Steve Kerr’s health problemsKevin Durant’s burner accountsThe Rockets spurring an ISO-ball crisis in the 2018 West FinalsDavid West alluding to drama that hadn’t become public after winning another titleSome awkward KD jokes at the Warriors’ 2018 championship paradeThe Warriors’ basketball struggles without Curry are apparent Since Durant joined the team in 2016, the Warriors are a mere 21-18 in games without Curry in the lineup, according to StatMuse. The Warriors sink 2.8 fewer three-point shots per game, shoot 2.2 percent worse from the field, and subsequently dish 3.2 fewer assists per night. They’re a fraction of themselves when he doesn’t play. Without Durant in the lineup, the Warriors have instead marched on. The team has gone 25-9, sinking just 0.1 fewer threes on 1.8 percent worse shooting, dishing .5 fewer assists. That’s not to minimize Durant’s importance — he’s one of the league’s best! But Curry has his imprint in everything this team does; he’s Golden State’s real MVP.That was on watch as a middling Houston team dismantled the reigning champs. A team known historically for its three-point rate took just 18 attempts and made four. (Houston made 16 on 47 tries.) Golden State lived in the long-two range, and swiftly died by it as the team’s starters combined to shoot 14-of-40 (35 percent) from the field.The offense was a wreck, turning the ball over 16 times to just 18 assists. Curry’s sorely missed, but in more ways than one.The Warriors need a mental boost from Curry, tooWe may never know all of the details about what went on between Durant and Green in their locker room spat, but we know it must’ve been bad if the Warriors chose to suspend their defensive anchor. It’s unclear what Curry could’ve done, if anything Womens Desmond Trufant Jersey , to diffuse the situation, but this segment of Yahoo’s Chris Haynes’ story on the debacle says it all:If Thompson felt the need to step up, things must’ve truly gotten ugly, and it feels as if that role would’ve been assumed by Curry, who wasn’t at the game due to his injury.Curry did travel with the team to Houston, though, where he was seen joking with Green, Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. Green said postgame that he “was the butt of a few jokes.”It sounds cliche to talk about the important of someone who’s viewed as a leader in the locker room, but in situations like these, a voice can be the remedy for all. And that voice in this locker room is Curry’s.And Curry has more to help fix. Durant and Green are clearly still not ok as evidenced by his tone after KD was asked about it by media.“Don’t ask me about that,” he said sternly. But hopefully, for Golden State’s sake, from here on out, Curry’s presence will lift the Warriors in an analytical and emotional sense. It’s what an MVP does.Falcons vs. Panthers: 3 in-game matchups to watch The Carolina Panthers visit Atlanta to take on the Falcons in a vital week two contest. Here are three in-game matchups to watch carefully. No need to sugarcoat. This is absolutely a must-win situation for the Atlanta Falcons. After a rough season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Falcons have their home opener against a division rival in the Panthers. Both sides are dealing with significant injuries to where neither team can say they have an upper advantage, but nonetheless, two teams in the midst of an Interstate-85 rivalry meet on Sunday. Here are three in-game encounters that will shape the outcome. Falcons Defensive Line vs. Panthers Offensive Line Entering this contest, the Panthers are a walking medical ward on the offensive line with three starters (Matt Kalil, Trai Turner, Daryl Williams) all being declared out for this contest. The only lineman that will be in place on Sunday at his original position will be center Ryan Kalil. So there is plenty of adjustment taking place on the offensive line for Carolina and it is a definite focal point. The Falcons defensive line is relatively healthy going forward and the interior of Grady Jarrett, Jack Crawford, and Deadrin Senat played very well in the season opener. The edge rushers however were not quite to the level that was expected but, to their credit Authentic Austin Hooper Jersey , a bookend tackle tandem of Jason Peters and Lane Johnson will be tough to rush against on any day. Now, the young, athletic duo of Vic Beasley Jr. and Takk McKinley must instill their will against the depleted offensive line and bottle up Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. The athleticism is there as is a golden opportunity against a weakened offensive line. Falcons WR Calvin Ridley vs. Panthers Secondary In his professional debut, rookie wideout Calvin Ridley garnered just two targets and walked away with zero catches. Not the most spectacular of openers but at the end of the day, he isa rookie. The strength of the Panthers defense is on the front end, that is quite known. The secondary may not be placed in a class of the elite but they are an average group of defenders at worst. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsRidley will see the likes of James Bradberry, Donte Jackson, and Captain Munnerlyn throughout the game and the rookie is talented enough to hold his own against them. Last week against Dallas, the Panthers allowed Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to complete 12-of-14 passes for 101 yards in all zones between the line-of-scrimmage and 10 yards. Ridley’s most effective routes ran during the 2017 season at Alabama were digs, slants, and crossing routes. The Falcons are looking to get Ridley more involved in week two after a quiet opening week. Ridley may have an opportunity to work the short passing game for the Falcons in this one with all eyes wandering on the presence of Juilo Jones. Falcons Linebackers vs. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey McCaffrey is a Swiss-Army knife for the Panthers offense and will be utilized in a variety of ways. In the pass catching department, McCaffrey has been effective with wheel routes, flat routes, hook routes, angle routes, so on and so forth. Against Dallas, McCaffrey totaled 16 touches for 95 yards which shows an emphasis on putting the ball in the hands of the second-year running back out of Stanford. As we all know, the Falcons defense will be without star linebacker Deion Jones, who would be the perfect remnant to McCaffrey’s usage. So it will be on the agendas of linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Duke Riley to corral McCaffrey. He will get his touches but those will have to be limited, as taking his big play ability away from the Panthers offense limits them as a whole.