Durant’s injury took place in Game 5 of the second round series against the Rockets and he has missed the last six contests for the Warriors, who are 6-0 since, including their four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. Durant’s calf strain was feared to be an Achilles injury but that theory has been ruled out.
Warriors Game 1 Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Raptors
*Notates expected starter
C: DeMarcus Cousins*, Kevon Looney, Andrew Bogut
PF: Draymond Green*, Damian Jones, Jordan Bell
SF: Andre Iguodala*, Alfonzo McKinnie, Jonas Jerebko
SG: Klay Thompson*, Jacob Evans
PG: Stephen Curry*, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook
Durant traveled with the team to Toronto for the first two games of the series but he hasn’t practiced yet. According to Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that Durant will have to practice before he can play again.
“Hopefully he can practice… we have to see him in practice before he can play a game, and we haven’t seen him in practice yet.”
A report from The Mercury News stated that Durant has done individual work on the court but has yet to resume practice.
“Durant has completed individual drills in recent days as part of his rehab on an injured right calf. But Durant has yet to receive medical clearance for any contact drills since injuring his calf against the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 8.”
With Durant out tonight, Stephen Curry has to play like an MVP, just like he did in the Western Conference Finals when he averaged 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 47.1 percent shooting and 42.5 percent from 3-point range in four games against the Trail Blazers.
Curry carried the Warriors in Game 4 with a triple-double of 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while making 7 of 16 3-pointers to become just the fifth player in NBA history to score 30 points in every game of a four-game sweep.
The Warriors are 31-1 in the last 32 games in which Stephen Curry has played and Durant hasn’t and while this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a better team without KD, it does show that they can win games with Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green leading the way and DeMarcus Cousins coming back.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Cousins will return tonight. He tore his left quad in Game 2 of the first round series against the Clippers on April 15 and he was supposed to miss the remainder of the playoffs but his rehab went extremely well and he will likely be in the starting lineup.
Playing Cousins after such a long layoff is a risk but if healthy, he’s too talented to be restricted to the bench. Draymond Green recently said Cousins would have a lot to overcome when he comes back.
“When you talk about DeMarcus, he’s someone who’s been great in this league for years now. He’s probably not played basketball what, 16 out of the last 19 months, so that right there alone is a challenge in itself. Then you start to talk playoff experience, where you and I both know the intensity level is completely different than a regular-season game, and he doesn’t have much playoff experience. And then you get dropped in the NBA Finals?
It’s kind of like some kid who grew up in the suburbs going to private school and then one day you just got dropped in the ‘hood and was told to survive. You got to figure that out. It’s very similar to that.”
2019 NBA Finals Schedule
(Courtesy of Sports Media Watch. These are subject to change)
Game 1: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Thursday, May 30 at 9:00 PM ET
Game 2: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Sunday, June 2 at 8:00 PM ET
Game 3: Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, June 5 at 9:00 PM ET
Game 4: Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors, Friday, June 7 at 9:00 PM ET
Game 5: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Monday, June 10 at 9:00 PM ET (If necessary)
Game 6: Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors, Thursday, June 13 at 9:00 PM ET (If necessary)
Game 7: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Sunday, June 16 at 8:00 PM ET (If necessary)
Series Price for the NBA Finals
(Courtesy of BetOnline)