Draymond Green: ‘Idiotic’ to say Warriors are better without Kevin Durant
The Golden State Warriors are more than holding their own in the absence of Kevin Durant, who has been sidelined since Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals with a strained right calf. Still, the notion that the Warriors are somehow a better team without Durant is “idiotic,” according to Draymond Green.
The Durant-less Warriors, thanks to Thursday night’s 114-111 home-court victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in which the team overcame a 15-point halftime deficit, now hold a commanding 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
Still, Green cannot believe anyone would suggest the Warriors put a better product on the floor with reigning two-time Finals MVP Durant, out for at least two more games, hobbled and on the bench.
“That’s idiotic,” Green said, via The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami. “It’s very idiotic. I don’t think there’s one person in this locker room, one person in this organization that thinks that. And I know for damn sure that any idiot that does possibly (say) it don’t believe it.”
The Warriors won Game 5 against the Houston Rockets after Durant hobbled off the court and closed out the series with a Game 6 victory. Now up 2-0 on the Blazers, the Warriors are rolling, even with Durant’s contributions only coming courtesy of postgame trash talk about the opponent.
The Warriors of course have the firepower, postseason experience and championship pedigree to weather Durant’s absence and reach a fifth straight NBA Finals. Green noted, however, how much having Durant on the bench puts pressure on the squad.
“When you have Kevin, he covers up so many things on both sides of the ball,” Green noted, per Kawakami. “‘Oh s–t, we haven’t scored in four possessions in a row?’ Get the ball to Kevin, get out of the way. On the defensive side, you mess up a pick-and-roll coverage, he’s right there to cover it up. He covers up so much for us.
“We don’t necessarily have to be perfect (when Durant’s out). But we’ve gotta be damn close to it.”
Durant’s future with the Warriors beyond this postseason of course is uncertain at best. Still, it goes without saying his teammates are fully aware of how critical he could be to securing a three-peat.