Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Kevin Durant would miss Games 3 and 4 of the conference finals. Then Golden State effectively said Durant would also miss a potential Game 5, as that’d be Wednesday, and his next evaluation is scheduled for Thursday:
Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Durant’s calf strain “a little more serious than we thought.”
Why not just go all the way with it?
Durant likely will miss the entire conference finals, according to a league source.
This is bad news for the Warriors. But it’s far easier to take considering they’re leading the Trail Blazers 2-0. Teams up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series have won it 93% of the time. There’s no guarantee this reaches a Game 5, let alone a Game 6 or 7.
The Warriors are better with Durant. They’re still darned good without him. Though he’s incredibly talented, the offense flows better without him. That’s not to say the offense is more effective without him. But Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are so good in a system where the ball moves more. That improved fit offsets some of the talent loss.
Golden State can win a title without Durant. But it’d definitely be easier (not to say easy) in the NBA Finals against the Bucks or Raptors if he plays. He’d be especially importantly defensively in those matchups.
As long as they hold their lead over Portland, expect the Warriors to remain patient with Durant. The big reevaluation will come if the series gets tight or before the Finals.