Kevin Durant out for Game 3; Klay Thompson still questionable

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OAKLAND — We could be seeing more box-and-one defense from Toronto in Game 3.

Kevin Durant is “ramping up his workouts” to recover from a strained calf but will not play in Game 3 Wednesday night at Oracle Arena, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday. Durant was not at practice at Oracle with his teammates, but that doesn’t mean he got the day off.

“Kevin is going to get on the floor at the practice facility later today…” Kerr said. “He was here for our film session and for some treatment, but he’ll be getting some work in this afternoon. He’s out for tomorrow, but improving.”

Klay Thompson was at practice, was walking without a limp, and got up a few standing-still shots, but was not actively participating in the part of practice the media got to view (or, likely, any of the rest of it). Thompson was optimistic he could play, while Kerr was more cautious and said his two guard was still questionable for Game 3. Thompson made it clear how he feels, but the Warriors don’t want him to aggravate the injury and make it worse in a series that looks like it could go six or seven games.

“It will be a game-time decision,” Thompson said. “But for me personally, it would be hard to see me not playing. Hopefully, I’ll feel much better tomorrow and be a go for tip-off.”

“He says he’s feeling well and that he’s feeling a lot better today than he did yesterday. And he thinks he’ll be ready to go…” Kerr said. “What we’ll have to determine is is that a risk? If he plays, are we risking anything? If the training staff feels good about his ability to go out there and play without making things worse, then he’ll play. But if there’s a risk, we would rather give him the next couple of days to continue to heal and hopefully have him out there for Game 4. But it’s literally day to day.”

Thompson injured his hamstring on an awkward fall after a jump shot where he tried to draw a foul during Game 2. Thompson, who had 25 points and was the best player on floor, left with 7:59 remaining in the fourth not to return.

“I was trying to brace for contact, which I probably shouldn’t have done, and I landed awkwardly,” Thompson said of the play where he got injured.

If the Warriors play without Durant and Thompson in Game 3, it will put a lot of pressure not only on Stephen Curry (who always has that pressure to create and be the focal point of the offense) but also on Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins, and others to create looks and offense. The Raptors are too good to beat with just the Curry show, it will have to a more balanced effort.

Toronto will feel the pressure to win this game on the road before the Warriors get back to full strength.

If the Warriors drop Game 3, the pressure will mount to have at least one of Thompson and Durant — ideally both — to play in Game 4.

The Warriors also will be without Kevon Looney, who is out for the playoffs with a collar bone fracture.

Draymond Green fined $50,000 for tampering with Devin Booker

Draymond Green fined
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“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck, but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”

That was the Warriors’ always outspoken Draymond Green on Inside the NBA on TNT Thursday, talking about the play of Devin Booker and the fast start of the Suns in the bubble.

The second he said it, Ernie Johnson asked, “Are you tampering?” Green said, “maybe.”

The NBA said yes and has fined Green $50,000 for “violating the league’s anti-tampering rule.”

In past years the NBA has mostly ignored player-to-player tampering, but after complaints from owners last season the league is cracking down on — at the very least — public tampering by players. Going on a popular national show to say Booker should leave Phoenix qualifies.

Just a reminder for fans of a team desperate for a star and suddenly looking at Phoenix, Booker has four years left (after this one) on his max contract extension. The Suns are building around him and Deandre Ayton — and right now it looks like it’s working (coach Monty Williams should get a lot of credit for that). The Suns aren’t looking to trade, Booker isn’t looking to leave (and has no leverage anyway), and the Suns seem to be building something real down in the Valley of the Sun.

 

Watch Luka Doncic post 36-19-14 with just dazzling passing (video)

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The Bucks’ have one of the best defenses in NBA history, allowing 7.9 fewer points per 100 possessions than league average. The Mavericks have the highest offensive rating (116.5) in league history.

Something had to give.

And it was Luka Doncic – to teammate after teammate after teammate.

Doncic had 36 points, 19 assists and 14 rebounds in Dallas’ 136-132 overtime win over Milwaukee yesterday. He was in complete control as a scorer and passer, showing just how far he has come.

The Bucks already secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But they played hard, forcing overtime. Giannis Antetokounmpo looked like the MVP with 34 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

Doncic was just better.

Report: NBA could play next season at multiple regional bubbles

Warriors star Stephen Curry
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Other than waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to subside – a possibility – the NBA faces MAJOR challenges next season.

The bubble is working for finishing this season. But that’s with just 22 teams rather than the full 30. And this is just for a few months, not a full season. Players are already bristling about how long they’re separated from their families.

Yet, what’s the alternative to a bubble? It looks like the only safe way to play professional sports.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated

We’re a ways off from next season, but league sources have told me that the NBA is looking at options that include creating regional bubbles, should the COVID-19 pandemic still prevent normal business in the fall. Teams would report to a bubble for short stints—around a month—which would be followed by 1-2 weeks off.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Orlando is a consideration, and Las Vegas — a finalist for this summer’s restart — would reemerge as a possible site too, sources said.

This is an interesting possibility.

Smaller bubbles would reduce the odds of a coronavirus outbreak that undermines the whole league. But what happens if one bubble has coronavirus issues? Teams’ schedules could get significantly unbalanced quickly.

The shorter bubble lengths would allow players to spend time with family more frequently. But how many players would contract coronavirus while between bubbles? Look how many players got coronavirus during this last layoff.

There are no easy solutions amid this pandemic. This is one of many imperfect ideas that should at least be considered.

Report: NBA not bringing other eight teams to Disney World bubble

Knicks vs. Bulls
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The NBA bringing the “Delete Eight” teams to its Disney World bubble to train as other teams depart?

Like other plans for the Knicks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Hawks, Hornets, Timberwolves and Warriors… it’s not happening.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The NBPA has no interest in that idea, sources said. It’s a non-starter. The inevitable solution for the eight teams left out of Orlando: The NBA and NBPA agreeing upon voluntary workouts in the team facilities, sources said.

The NBPA won’t agree to mandatory reporting for players on the eight teams outside of the restart but will eventually allow it on a voluntary level, sources said.

Bringing those other eight teams to the Disney World bubble was always a ridiculous idea. Why would the NBA jeopardize its highly profitable setup just so some lousy teams could train and maybe hold glorified scrimmages?

Voluntary team workouts are a reasonable allowance. Though it’s difficult to ensure players coming and going from a team facility won’t spread coronavirus, some players are playing basketball in groups, anyway. At their own facilities, teams can at least enforce protocols to increase safety. And players who’d rather be more careful wouldn’t be forced to participate.

There’s no reason to make anything mandatory. These eight teams’ seasons are over.