Draymond Green

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Kevin Durant has fractured ribs, out a couple of weeks


The injury bug is hitting the Warriors hard — not with anything that seems like it will last into the playoffs, but it’s still a concern.

Stephen Curry (ankle) and Klay Thompson (fractured thumb), Draymond Green is just returning to the rotation (along with David West and Jordan Bell), and now this — Kevin Durant is going to be out a couple of weeks.

What incomplete means is it is nondisplaced, or to use the slang it is a cracked rib. The bone was not moved out of place and does not need to be reset.

The good news for Warriors fans about all these injuries are they should heal up in a couple of weeks and the Warriors should be fully loaded for bear come the playoffs. And no doubt this team knows what it needs to do to win, it can get back into its groove quickly.

So long as we’re not talking about all these injuries in the second week of April, Warriors fans do not need to worry.

PBT Extra: In wide open race, fans push Rudy Gobert for Defensive Player of the Year

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Going into the season, Kawhi Leonard was the odds-on favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year again, but he’s only played in nine games (so far). Draymond Green was in the mix, and he’s had a good but not great defensive season. Al Horford anchors the best defense in the NBA this season for Boston, but that is more a team effort than Horford dominating on that end.

The race for Defensive Player of the Year is wide open, which is what I get into in this latest PBT Extra video. Joel Embiid has been the favorite most of the season, but the flat-out best defender this season has been Rudy Gobert — when he is on the court the Jazz allow just 97.2 points per 100 possessions. Problem is he missed considerable time with a pair of knee injuries.

So who is the Defensive Player of the Year leading into the final month of the NBA season? I asked you readers on Twitter, and the answer was Gobert with Rudy Gobert at 61 percent, followed by Joel Embiid with 21 percent and Green back with 10 percent.

Gobert has only played in 43 games, the max he can get up to is 56 — did he impact enough defensive possessions to win this award? In 2015 Leonard won his first playing 64 games. Embiid will play in about the mid to high 60s in games (he could play in 71 if he plays in every remaining game, but the Sixers will get him some rest before the postseason) and when he is on the court the Sixers allow a point per possession (100.4 per 100).

Will the voters look at all that and decide to go with Horford or Green? Who knows. It’s wide open.

Report: Klay Thompson will miss games, maybe a couple weeks, with fractured thumb

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The injury happened Sunday in the Warriors loss to Minnesota. Late in the first half, Thompson reached trying to strip the ball from a driving Jeff Teague and instantly grabs his thumb in pain. He played through it in that game. You can see how it went down in the grainy video here.

There had been rumors this was a little more serious than was being let on, and now comes the news Thompson has a fractured thumb and is out for at least a few games, and maybe a couple of weeks, via Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Golden State Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson is expected to return before the end of the month from a fractured right thumb, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Thompson is averaging 19.7 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting from three, but may be more critical on the defensive end where he takes on the best guard of the other team nightly and is a borderline All-Defensive Team player.

The Warriors are already without Stephen Curry, who tweaked an ankle and will be re-evaluated on March 20. Draymond Green (shoulder), Andre Iguodala, and David West also are all out vs. the Lakers on Wednesday night. It will be the Kevin Durant show.

Steve Kerr doesn’t care about chasing down Houston for the No. 1 seed, all he cares about is getting his players healthy and rested before the playoffs start. Golden State will take its time bringing guys back at this point in the season, even at the price of losing games. Golden State is concerned about the games in late May and June, not one in the middle of March.

Clippers executive Jerry West calls Celtics’ Gordon Hayward ‘a very good player’

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Clippers executive Jerry West raved about Warriors stars Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green – which sounded a lot like the comments that got Lakers president Magic Johnson fined for tampering with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

But Johnson previously received a tampering warning for winking at Paul George. Maybe West got warned for his Golden State remarks.

After all, NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained the Johnson fine: “What we’ve said to him, and it’s a clear message to other team executives, is that stop talking about star players on other teams. There are plenty of other issues they can address.”

Well, West again talked about a star player on another team. This time it was Celtics forward Gordon Hayward.

West, via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

“I’ll just say that every once in a while, there’s a chance that people get to take advantage of someone,” West said. “I don’t think that will ever happen again, but what Brooklyn did almost should be legislated against, to be honest with you.

“It’s very much like when Stepien was in Cleveland,” he added, referring to former Cavs owner Ted Stepien, who traded away so many first-round picks that the league no longer allows teams to trade first-rounders in consecutive years. “We got the No. 1 pick in the draft (James Worthy in 1982) out of it, who helped us win championships.

“But Danny’s done a nice job back there. Are they good enough? They had a terrible break with a very good player (Gordon Hayward), and are they good enough now? At the end of a couple of years, they’re going to be judged by that, by how they’re doing then — not by now. They’ve got some good young players. They’ve got a terrific coach. They’ve got a lot of positive things going, that’s for sure.”

I promise I’m not trying to pick on West. I appreciate his perspective, as a former great player and longtime executive. I don’t think he should be punished for this.

But I wouldn’t blame the Lakers one bit if they feel they’re being held to a different standard. The NBA has created an unease around the most benign forms of tampering – the most meaningful still go largely unchecked – thanks to a selective enforcement.

Moving onto to the substance of West’s quote, he might be right about a rule change to prevent another Brooklyn situation.

It’s easy to say the NBA shouldn’t protect teams from themselves, but that’s probably counter to the league’s financial interests. The Nets have been hopeless for three years, and it’ll probably take multiple more seasons to dig out of this hole. A large market is going to waste. The NBA is a money-making enterprise more than anything else, so that’s a big problem.

The Nets found a loophole in the Stepien Rule with pick swaps, allowing the team to keep a first-rounder every other year – just not the high one their lousy record would otherwise entitle them to. It was a clever workaround, one that effectively nullified the Stepien Rule.

There’s a case that Brooklyn’s plight will dissuade teams from ever trying such a plan again. But a similar case could have been made about Stepien’s Cavs, and the league decided that type of trading must be specifically prohibited.

The Stepien Rule exists for a reason, and if that reason is valid, the rule doesn’t go far enough.

Fixing that would be a much better use of the league’s time than (sometimes) turning harmless mentions of opposing players into the high crime of tampering.

Blazers beat Warriors 125-108 for 9th straight victory


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The key to the Portland Trail Blazers’ nine-game winning streak starts behind the scenes.

“I think we’ve done a great job of being sharp in practices and when we go in the film room, we’ve been taking our game seriously – not that we haven’t all season, but I think lately it’s just a different level of focus. It’s more intense,” Damian Lillard said.

The ninth win came on Friday night with a 125-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors. CJ McCollum scored 30 points and Lillard added 28.

The Warriors had won seven in a row but didn’t have Stephen Curry, Jordan Bell and Andre Iguodala, who were all out with injuries. Kevin Durant led Golden State with 40 points.

Portland has its longest winning streak since also winning nine straight in 2014. The Blazers’ streak started when they beat Golden State 123-117 at the Moda Center on Feb. 14, the last game before the All-Star break.

The streak has propelled Portland into third place in the Western Conference, 11 1/2 games back of the Warriors, who are a half-game back of the first-place Houston Rockets.

“What streak?” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “We’re just playing games, we’re just trying to get wins.”

McCollum hit a 3-pointer to give the Blazers a 101-93 lead with 7:20 left. He added another 3 before Durant got one. Klay Thompson made a layup but Lillard answered with another 3 to make it 107-98.

Another 3-pointer by Lillard extended Portland’s lead to 115-103 with 2:40 to go and the Warriors could not catch up. There were seven Blazers in double figures.

“We fought hard. I really liked our fight and our competitive spirit but we’ve got to be smarter. We just did not play a smart, focused game tonight and it cost us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Curry rolled his right ankle in the first quarter of the Warriors’ 110-107 victory at home over San Antonio on Thursday night.

He missed 11 games in December with the sprained right ankle and injured it again last Friday at Atlanta. He did not travel to Portland and Quinn Cook started in his place.

Bell, who sprained his right ankle Tuesday against Brooklyn, will be out through the weekend and re-evaluated Tuesday. Iguodala was out with a left wrist sprain for the second straight game.

Portland saw the return of Maurice Harkless, who missed three games with a left knee injury.

Portland led 33-27 at the end of the first quarter, after Draymond Green‘s dunk didn’t quite make it by the buzzer.

Portland went on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 41-27, but Golden State got within 52-50 on Kevon Looney‘s follow shot. Portland led 61-52 at the half. Durant led all players with 22 points while Lillard had 15.

Durant’s 3-pointer and a jumper gave Golden State a 77-73 lead with 4:01 left in the third. Portland re-took the lead on Ed Davis‘ tip-in and a trio of free throws from Lillard to make it 87-83 going into the final period.

“They hit shots,” Durant said. “They’ve been making shots on this run they’re on for a while. I thought we did a good job making them take some tough ones, but they made them.”


Security at the Moda Center ejected a fan in a courtside seat who exchanged words with Durant late in the second quarter.

“When you’re sitting courtside you kind of think you’re Teflon – you can say or do whatever – but the ref caught him,” Durant said. “Before I could even get over there the ref said he was throwing him out of the game.”