Curry starts 2017 as Western Conference Player of the Week

Curry starts 2017 as Western Conference Player of the Week

NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2017The Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry Monday were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 2 through Sunday, Jan. 8.

Butler led the Bulls to a 3-0 week, averaging a league-leading 38.0 points to go with 9.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He opened the week by scoring 52 points in a 118-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets, the second 50-point game of his career and the first by a Bull at the United Center since Michael Jordan in April 1997. Butler was prolific at the free throw line, making 21-of-22 against the Hornets and closing the week by shooting 18-for-20 from the stripe on his way to 42 points in a 123-118 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 7.

Curry led the Warriors to a 3-1 week behind averages of 31.8 points (third in the West), 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. He scored at least 30 points in three of his four games and logged his second 40-point outing of the season when he finished with 40 points in a 128-119 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 6. Curry, who became just the seventh player in Warriors history to score 12,000 career points, shot 50.0 percent from the field, 89.5 percent from the free throw line and 39.1 percent from three-point range.

Here is a recap of the week for Butler and Curry:

Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

Jan. 2 vs. Charlotte: Scored a season-high 52 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists in a 118-111 win over the Hornets.

Jan. 4 @ Cleveland: Tallied 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a 106-94 victory against the Cavaliers.

Jan. 7 vs. Toronto: Finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in a 123-118 overtime win over the Raptors.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Jan. 2 vs. Denver: Registered 22 points and five assists in a 127-119 victory against the Nuggets.

Jan. 4 vs. Portland: Recorded 35 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 125-117 win over the Trail Blazers.

Jan. 6 vs. Memphis: Scored 40 points, dished out six assists and grabbed four rebounds in a 128-119 overtime loss to the Grizzlies.

Jan. 8 @ Sacramento: Finished with 30 points, six assists and four rebounds in a 117-106 victory against the Kings.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s Paul George and Jeff Teague, the LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers, Memphis’ Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, Portland’s C.J. McCollum and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.

NBA media services

Sources: In agony, Kerr had difficult time keeping up with Warriors' Game 3 win

Sources: In agony, Kerr had difficult time keeping up with Warriors' Game 3 win

PORTLAND -- Steve Kerr was in such agony Saturday that he found little comfort even while watching from the team hotel as his Warriors pulled out a playoff victory over Trail Blazers, multiple sources told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

The pain is so intense that Kerr even had difficulty keeping up with the game. Moreover, it may be a while before he’s able to return to full-time coaching duties.

Assistant Mike Brown served as acting head coach in a 119-113 win over Portland in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

“He’s obviously going through a lot physically,” Stephen Curry said of Kerr after the game, “and that’s first and foremost for him to take care of himself, make sure he’s on the road to recovery and feeling like himself.”

Kerr was in obvious discomfort Friday, when he met with the media for his post-practice news conference. Though he made the flight to Oregon with the team Friday afternoon, he was not able to attend shootaround Saturday morning. It was the second time this season that Kerr missed a shootaround, the first coming March 2 in Chicago.

By Saturday afternoon, the Warriors were announcing he would not coach Game 3.

It was not a great surprise to those who work closely with Kerr.

“He’s suffering,” said one person close to Kerr.

“He hadn’t been feeling well for a couple days, so I knew it would be a possibility,” Brown said before the game.

Kerr continues to cope with debilitating side effects from multiple back surgeries in the summer of 2015. He took a leave of absence last season, missing nearly all of training camp and the first 43 games of the regular season before returning.

Both the symptoms have persisted. Kerr still cannot do many of the things he loves, he acknowledged to NBCSportsBayArea.com, such as play golf. Though his back is somewhat improved, he still experiences severe headaches and neck pain.

The worst part about the discomfort is its consistency. It’s nagging at him every day and night, sometimes more severe than others.

It has gotten worse in recent days, though. It is conceivable, even likely, according to those close to Kerr, that he will miss Game 4 Monday night.

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

While head coach Steve Kerr was unable to make Saturday's Game 3 due to an illness, the Warriors went out and took a 3-0 series lead over the Blazers. 

After the game, Steph Curry dedicated the win to Kerr by keeping the game ball for him. 

"Our coach is going through a lot right now physically and he told us this morning this is a situation where we need to rally and go out and win a game for him, but we felt like that," Curry said after the Warriors' 119-113 win. "The way that game had gone on we had to fight and do it for him. 

"The way that he said it was we had to win one for The Gipper, so shout out to coach Kerr." 

Curry led the Warriors with 34 points in Saturday's win.