Warriors worried about chances of winning title without Kevin Durant?
The Golden State Warriors lost for the first time since Kevin Durant suffered a calf strain earlier this postseason with Thursday’s 118-109 setback to the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
While the Warriors remain hopeful Durant will play at some point, the team privately is said to be concerned over the prospects of winning another title without the superstar.
The Warriors of course closed out the Rockets in six games and steamrolled the Portland Trail Blazers in a sweep in the Western Conference Finals with Durant sidelined. Still, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports Friday, the Warriors are not instilled with confidence over enjoying the same fortunes with the unfamiliar and defensively stout Raptors.
“Privately, the Warriors had been concerned about their chances to beat Toronto or Milwaukee in the Finals if Durant wasn’t able to play,” Shelburne writes. “They knew they needed him as a failsafe on offense and maybe even more at the defensive end, given potential matchups with Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo.”
On Friday, Durant was officially ruled out for Game 2 on Sunday, but the Warriors hope he’ll be available possibly in Game 3 back in Oakland, and if not, Game 4. That said, the belief is if it were the regular season, Durant would still be weeks away from being game-ready, as calf strains are notoriously susceptible to re-injury.
Given the ease in which the Warriors dispatched the Rockets and then the Blazers, a narrative emerged that Golden State is a better team without Durant, an arguably ridiculous notion the team has attempted to shoot down on countless occasions.
All that said, the Warriors hardly are in dire shape at this point having merely lost Game 1 on the road. Golden State will have to win at least one game away from Oracle Arena to win another title, but that’s certainly within the realm of reason, even if Durant fails to suit up in the series.
That does not mean, though, that doubts haven’t started to creep in among the Warriors, something that will only get worse should the team drop Game 2.