The NBA playoff field is down to the final four. The Milwaukee Bucks stormed back in the second half to take down a sluggish, tired Toronto Raptors to win game one of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night.
The Golden State Warriors destroyed the Portland Trail Blazers in game one of the Eastern Conference finals and it was a roller coaster game two but the Warriors prevailed again.
But the Golden State Warriors just got a huge blow to their championship aspirations, or maybe they didn’t.
In game five of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Houston Rockets were at Golden State Warriors, superstar Kevin Durant was injured in the 3rd quarter forcing him to exit the game and slowly limp to the locker room.
At first, it looked like an Achilles injury and many speculated that’s exactly what it was because when Durant felt it, he looked back thinking someone kicked him in the back of the leg – exactly what Kobe Bryant did when he tore his in 2014.
Fortunately for Durant and the Warriors, the MRI revealed it to be a mild calf strain but he was at least done for the series. Even with the two-time consecutive finals MVP going out; Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green rallied for the game 5 victory putting them up 3-2 in the series.
Nearly every analyst picked the Rockets – only a rare wise few picked the Warriors to closeout on an away game – to not only win this game but to win the series if Kevin Durant couldn’t play. And the Warriors shocked everybody when they closed the series out without arguably the greatest basketball player in the world.
In the first game of the Western Conference Finals, the Portland Trail Blazers visited the Golden State Warriors and shut them down in the most embarrassing way possible – still, without Durant. In game two, it was a much more contentious hard-fought fight and while it looked like the Trail Blazers would steal it; the Warriors came out on top again with a heroic effort by Steph Curry.
But before Game two of the WCF, Kevin Durant’s injury was re-evaluated and the Warriors released a statement saying they would check back in a week. It looks like he’s not close to returning.
Head coach Steve Kerr told reporters, “Everyone needs to slow down a little bit on the Kevin stuff. He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet. He still has pain. So there’s some time ahead of him on the rehab process.”
If that’s true, it’s probable he won’t return to the WCF even if it goes to game seven and it’s also quite possiblehe may not be able to at all this season.
But do the Warriors need the best player in the world?
It truly looks like they don’t.
The ball movement amongst the 2016 73-9 rock star squad of the Warriors is as fluid in motion like a well-orchestrated symphony as it ever was. They got the old band back together.
Durant just seems to slow them down.
With that said, it’s unclear how this Warriors team would face off against two defensive powerhouses in the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors. Will Kevin Durant help them defensively against either of those two teams? Of course he will.
But it’s pretty clear Kevin Durant slows down the band’s rhythm on offense. It’s the equivalent of Will Ferrell banging cowbells on Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” He’s an isolation player and the other Warriors are sick of it.
They don’t really need arguably the greatest basketball player in the world because what the Warriors do is poetry in motion.