DURANT OUT FOR FIRST 2 GAMES
Kevin Durant likely will miss two Western Conference Final games while he recovers from a strained right calf.
Kevin Durant watched from home in the Bay Area as the Golden State Warriors finished off James Harden and the Houston Rockets on the road.
The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP has a bit more cheerleading to do before he gets back on the court.
Durant is likely to miss Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers while he recovers from a strained right calf. Durant was injured in Game 5 against Houston.
“Everyone needs to slow down a little bit on the Kevin stuff. He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Monday, a day before Game 1, noting a more extensive update would come Thursday.
Golden State showed it can win without KD: Stephen Curry came alive at last in the second half of the clincher at Houston, scoring all 33 of his points after the break.
Curry and Splash Brother Klay Thompson will look to build off strong performances in that final game against the Rockets to lead the top-seeded Warriors. The two-time defending champions are seeking a fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
They will face another formidable backcourt with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum when the best-of-seven series begins Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
There are several intriguing storylines in this matchup, too, like Portland star Lillard coming home to Oakland with a chance to shine on the big stage in the final season at Oracle before the Warriors move across the bay to play in San Francisco next season.
And how about the Curry brothers? Steph’s little brother, Seth, plays for the Trail Blazers.
The Warriors swept the Blazers in the first round two years ago during a remarkable 16-1 postseason run.
Lillard missed his first six 3-point tries Sunday then swished one midway through the fourth when Portland needed him most. The Trail Blazers overcame a 17-point deficit on Denver’s home court to outlast the Nuggets for a 100-96 win.
An extremely thirsty Enes Kanter loaded up his backpack with five or six bottles of Gat
orade after Game 7 — for later.
The Trail Blazers center avoids food and drink from sunrise to sunset as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It was that way for the last three games of the Denver series and will be that way during the Golden State series.
Kanter said he reached out to NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon for advice on performing in the playoffs while fasting during Ramadan.
“The game of basketball is mental over physical so I think I'll be fine for this stretch,” Kanter said.
Golden State finished off the Rockets in Houston on Friday night, so the Warriors got some rest this time after a quick turnaround following a sixgame series in the first round against the Clippers in which they had to play again about 40 hours later.
Injured Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins has used the time to continue his rehab from a torn left quadriceps muscle suffered in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers. It’s unclear yet whether he might be able to return this round.
TURNOVERS AND REBOUNDING
The Warriors struggle when they get sloppy — and it’s a fine line of being chaotic when it works so well and when they become careless and it’s costly.
Portland took good care of the ball in Game 7 committing just four turnovers.
On the rebounding front, Golden State won three games when it outrebounded the Rockets and another — Game 6 — despite a disadvantage on the boards.
The Blazers had 55 rebounds in the clincher, with Kanter grabbing five on the offensive glass.
The Golden State Warriors are likely to be without Kevin Durant for the first two games of their series against the Portland Trail Blazers while he recovers from a strained right calf.