The NBA started the season a couple of weeks early this season, spacing out the schedule out to reduce back-t0-backs and eliminate four-games-in-five-nights on the road, plus make sure teams got a day or two off before nationally televised games. Then the league office sent all 30 teams a memo suggesting resting healthy players in nationally televised games could lead to fines and the wrath of the league.
The Warriors’ Kevin Durant, after missing a game three days before with a sprained ankle, suited up last Wednesday night in a nationally televised game in Oklahoma City against his former teammate Russell Westbrook (a game Westbrook dominated). After that, Durant sat out Friday night’s game against the Bulls, and he’s out again Saturday night against the Pelicans.
Steve Kerr said he regrets playing Durant against the Thunder. Via Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.
“We probably shouldn’t have played him Wednesday,” Kerr said late Friday night. “I thought he was fine. We thought he was fine, but then he got a little sore afterward.
“I’m sure the league is happy with us because we played him on their ‘marquee’ game with (Russell Westbrook) and all that stuff. But he came out sore the next day. So we shouldn’t have played him.”
Kerr did say he thought Durant “was fine,” but almost hints the NBA’s pressure played a role. If KD were genuinely injured no way Kerr and the Warriors play him, but it’s fair to wonder if we will hear other coaches around the league will take this complaint to another level as the season moves on. It’s something to watch.