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SportsOpinion: Are Warriors better without Kevin Durant? It's more complicated than that

20:25  15 may  2019
20:25  15 may  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Warriors star Kevin Durant out for rest of West semifinals

Warriors star Kevin Durant out for rest of West semifinals The Golden State Warriors will be without post-season scoring leader Kevin Durant as they try to close out the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals. 

It ' s more complicated than that . With Durant sidelined for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Steph Curry and the Warriors looked more like OAKLAND — It would be an oh-so-convenient headline but also incredibly flippant to suggest that the Golden State Warriors are suddenly better

It ' s more complicated than that . With Durant sidelined for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Steph Curry and the Warriors looked more like champions than they have all season.

OAKLAND — It would be an oh-so-convenient headline but also incredibly flippant to suggest that the Golden State Warriors are suddenly better now that their strongest individual part is on injury-enforced hiatus.

No team in its right mind would want Kevin Durant, arguably the game’s most destructive force, watching from the sidelines. Yet in the week that has elapsed since Durant landed awkwardly and the postseason seemed to be thrown into immediate flux, something has happened.

Report: Durant to miss Game 1, unlikely for Game 2

Report: Durant to miss Game 1, unlikely for Game 2 Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant will be forced to miss Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday with a calf strain, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Durant will reportedly be re-evaluated Thursday, making a return in Game 2 "unlikely." The 30-year-old suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Warriors' Game 5 victory over the Houston Rockets and was forced to miss the team's series-clinching Game 6 win on Friday. Golden State will continue to lean on Stephen Curry as the focal point of its offense in Durant's absence. The two-time MVP finished with 33 points Friday - all in the second half.

Everyone keeps saying that it ’ s absurd to claim that the Warriors are better with Kevin Durant . Draymond Green has been incredible lately, and did it again on Saturday. Stephen Curry was excellent, too. The Warriors miss Durant in very specific ways (especially when possessions break down) but

Kevin Durant Shoots Down Notion That Warriors Are Better Without Him: 'That's Not Facts'. " It ' s hard to get away from that because I watch the game, and you watch the lead-up to the games The MMQB’s Jacob Feldman shares the NFL’s best stories and biggest news (plus an opinion or two)

Or should we say hasn’t happened? From that point forward, the Warriors stopped looking like they might be in danger of losing to the Houston Rockets. They stopped sputtering on offense. They stopped being over-reliant on seven (or sometimes eight) men. They stopped being hesitant. And Steph Curry started looking like his old self and the Warriors more like champions than they have all season.

Opinion: Are Warriors better without Kevin Durant? It's more complicated than that © Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC Stephen Curry scored a game-high 36 points in Game 1.

They’ve done it out of necessity. Shorn of the luxury of Durant’s ability to marshal offensive opportunities at will, the Warriors have simply gone back to how things were done before he came along. Speedy ball-movement, seeking an open man. Vigorous intensity.

Report: Kevin Durant unhappy with 'prodding' from Steve Kerr

Report: Kevin Durant unhappy with 'prodding' from Steve Kerr It would be a surprise at this point if Kevin Durant decided to re-sign with the Warriors this summer, and there has been no shortage of reasons cited for why the soon-to-be free agent is looking to leave Golden State. Could the head coach be among those reasons? Steve Popper of Newsday spoke with several NBA executives about Durant at the NBA combine last week, and the general consensus is that Durant is a lock to sign with the New York Knicks. According to one exec, two of the issues Durant is having in Golden State are that he is tired of “prodding” from Steve Kerr and knows the Warriors will always be Stephen Curry’s team.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said it best a while back: When Curry leads the Warriors on a heavenly three-point barrage, turning deficits into runaways, it becomes a mental thing for our guys. Strange question being tossed about the 3-Dot this week: Are the Warriors better without Kevin Durant ?

It ’ s not facts when it comes from a basketball perspective,” Durant said Friday. “But the competitive side of me also likes to talk basketball as well . Publicly and privately, the Warriors say they don’t think they’re better without Durant . They are concerned about his uncertain status for the NBA

"It was a nice flow," Curry said after his team’s 116-94 Game 1 victory in their Western Conference finals clash with the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. "We were moving the ball, too. Just trying to create great shots. It worked out for us tonight. It is fun. It is when we are at our best in terms of everybody feeling like they are a threat on the floor. It puts so much pressure on the defense. You see the morale. Everybody’s shoulders were up. There were smiles, just aggressiveness all over the floor."

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They were pretty decent before Durant came, you might remember, winning one NBA championship and losing another only through a combination of exhaustion at racking up a 73-9 record, a LeBron James swat and a Kyrie Irving dagger.

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Meanwhile, Durant is miffed at the recent narrative that the Warriors are a better team without him. Durant was averaging 34.2 points in the postseason prior to the injury against the Rockets. “ It ’ s hard to get away from that because I watch the games (when Golden State is on the road) and I saw

It isn’t quite the same when Durant is in. He’s the best one-on-one player in the world, so of course they’re going to run a far share of isolation plays for This discussion should never be used to discount the abilities of Durant . It ’ s more of a reflection of how the Warriors and Kerr have constructed their

It was when the Splash Brothers of Curry and Klay Thompson truly splashed, three-pointers raining from the roof of Oracle Arena, when everything was conducted at breakneck speed.

That’s what happened in Game 1. Unless Portland finds a solution, the Warriors will be content to give Durant’s right calf injury every bit of precious rest that it needs.

The Warriors try to play with speed when Durant is around, but, like Curry says, having a player of his quality offers the ultimate "safety valve." Players are less likely to let fly a rapid and impulsive long-range shot when Durant’s looming figure and implied capacity to score is in their peripheral vision.

It is a small sample size, but maybe we are now seeing the Curry of old, just days removed from when the question was being posed as to what was wrong with him. Having played second fiddle, purely because of the weight of Durant’s excellence all season — and in the last two NBA Finals — he is suddenly unleashed once more.

It's been like his mind was suddenly uncluttered. Perhaps Durant provides him with too many options. During the first three quarters against Portland, Curry had a simple philosophy: use his foot speed to find open space, and let it fly. He did, sinking nine threes (seven of them uncontested).

Reporter who covered Kevin Durant believes he’s a ‘social media addict’

Reporter who covered Kevin Durant believes he’s a ‘social media addict’ Kevin Durant has become well known for letting critics get under his skin, which is why it is fair to wonder if he could handle the New York media if he signed with the Knicks. One reporter who has covered the two-time NBA Finals MVP doesn’t think it will matter, because social media is everywhere. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News spoke with three writers who have covered Durant to get their opinion on K.D. potentially playing in New York. The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel, who covered Durant extensively when he was with the Thunder, doesn’t think Durant gets as aggravated with the “traditional media” as he does with Twitter, Instagram and the like.

The notion that the Warriors are better without Kevin Durant might seem hyperbolic. Durant — one of the best scorers in NBA history — was at Durant — one of the best scorers in NBA history — was at the peak of his powers before the calf injury. No team is actually tougher sans its most dominant

It ’ s worth noting that the 31-1 mark is just over the most recent stretch, as Durant has missed 38 total regular-season games in three seasons with the Warriors . Obviously, these numbers are eye-opening, but this still doesn’t necessarily mean the Warriors are a better team without Durant .

"It is good to see Steph have a game like that, obviously when we need him most," said Draymond Green. "That is really big for us and I expect him to continue to play that way. You try to feed off the momentum of the last game and carry it over. He came out of the gate aggressive.

"Also understanding that Kevin is out and he is going to be even more important in our offense. He came out with that mindset and got it rolling."

Blazers coach Terry Stotts was frustrated and it is hard to blame him. He looked bristled when quizzed about how to stop Curry. He’ll surely try something else next. There is no certainty it will work.

Durant will be back soon enough and when it happens he will be welcomed back by the Warriors, despite how the Warriors performed in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets and Game 1 vs. the Blazers. He carried the team through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

If anything, this just makes his return even more daunting for whoever has aspirations of stopping the Golden State party. Without Durant, isolation plays are rare and it increases the pace of everything. When he’s back, we can assume that his minutes may carry some restriction, and the speed of play during the times he’s benched may start to look more like things have in his absence.

Report: Warriors’ Durant to miss Game 1 of NBA Finals vs. Raptors

Report: Warriors’ Durant to miss Game 1 of NBA Finals vs. Raptors Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant will miss Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to a report. The post Sanchez leaves early with fingernail issue as Blue Jays fall to Rays appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

Without Durant , the Warriors have reprised its 2015-16 season form. More ball movement, Stephen Curry scoring 30-plus per game, Draymond “ It ’ s a process where we take it a day at a time and try not to think too far down the line on what the next steps are .” The Warriors haven’t said publicly how

" It ' s just what it comes down to." If Golden State has one advantage left in this series, it ’ s exactly that Toronto is still the better team top to bottom, but the Warriors have Steph and Klay and the Game 5: Warriors forward Kevin Durant reaches for his leg after dropping to the floor with an injury

Meanwhile, the Warriors are cruising through adversity as a result of being forced to rediscover their joyous spirit. Durant has been their most valuable piece all season long, and having to cope without him seems to have supercharged their drive towards a third straight title.

Follow Martin Rogers on Twitter @RogersJourno.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Are Warriors better without Kevin Durant? It's more complicated than that

Read more

Report: Durant to travel with Warriors to Toronto.
Injured Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant will travel to Toronto for Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, a league source told Yahoo's Chris Haynes. Durant has already been ruled out of Thursday's series opener due to his right calf strain. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Monday that he wasn't sure if Durant would travel with the team. Tuesday's development at least presents the possibility that Durant could suit up in Sunday's Game 2 against the Raptors. Durant hasn't played since hurting his calf during Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. He has been shooting on his own but hasn't practiced with teammates since the injury.

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