Kevin Durant’s return might be too late for the Golden State Warriors if the Raptors can snatch a 2-0 series lead before the reigning NBA Finals MVP has a chance to get on the floor. Game 2 of the NBA Finals tips off at 10am (AEST) from Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
Draymond had dinner with Drake
Draymond Green’s back-and-forth sledging battle with Raptors superfan Drake was one of the big talking points from the NBA Finals series opener — but it’s all been revealed as harmless banter.
Green brushed off concern that Drake has been overstepping the boundaries of his front row seats to engage with players throughout the playoffs immediately after the Raptors took the series opener — and he showed just how little he cares about Drake’s intervention by reportedly having dinner with the rap artist the day after Game 1.
According to NBC Sports, Green and Drake shared a meal together at a restaurant less than 1km from the Raptors’ home court and even stepped into a private dining area together.
Drake was earlier spotted wearing a jumper homage to Drake as he walked around Toronto on a day off after Game 1.
While the basketball world is trying to rip them apart, it appears Green and Drake’s friendship is rock solid.
Draymond is rocking Drake's OVO hoodie around Toronto after Game 1 😂
(via @Money23Green) pic.twitter.com/fxqZ2KXeUW
“I think so many people make a big deal out of it. It is what it is. He a fan, he talks. And it gets more attention because he’s Drake,” Green said of Drake in his post game press conference last week.
“So many people have complained about it, like ‘you don’t let any other fan do that!’ Yeah, any other fan just not Drake, so they probably shouldn’t be able to do that. That’s just kind of how the cookie crumbles.
“He’s worked his ass off to be who he is, and when you do that… I think we all know, when you do that, you get more leash than others.
“I think there’s so much talk, like ‘the NBA needs to,’ nah, they don’t. He worked to be who he is. You should get more leash. But I don’t mind it.”
Warriors will get Durant back
The reigning Finals MVP.Source:AP
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said it is “feasible’’ Kevin Durant could be activated after just one full practice.
Speaking at the Warriors’ shootaround Sunday morning at Scotiabank Arena ahead of Game 2, Kerr’s remark made it logistically possible for Durant to make his return from a partially torn calf muscle in Wednesday’s Game 3. But a lot has to go right.
Durant has yet to be cleared to practice. The Warriors were scheduled to fly back to Oakland on Monday and not practice until Tuesday. If Durant is cleared to practice and passes all his running tests with no setbacks, there’s a chance for him to suit up Wednesday, though likely on a minutes restriction.
The likelier scenario is waiting for Game 4 when Durant could have another two practices under his belt. If the series is tied 1-1 after two games, it would seem prudent for the Warriors to hold off as Durant’s conditioning could be a factor after missing almost a month.
“It’s feasible,’’ Kerr said when asked by The Post about the one-practice scenario. “But it’s really a day-to-day thing. If we had a crystal ball we would have known long ago what we’re dealing with. But it’s an injury [where] there’s been a lot of grey area, so it’s literally day to day and how the progress is coming And at this point he’s still not ready.”
Durant has been executing on-court drills with assistant coach Bruce Fraser since Wednesday — the reason he traveled cross-continent with the team.
Cousins, a four-time All-Star in his first season with Golden State, returned for eight minutes off the bench in Game 1 after missing time with a left quad injury he suffered in the first round against the Clippers. Kerr hinted at running the offense more through Cousins in Game 2.
The Warriors don’t talk about Durant’s absence with the same reverence one would imagine when a team is missing its best player — the NBA’s best player. That’s because Golden State won a title without Durant but with a similar cast.
Durant doesn’t seem particularly close with the starry clique of Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson/Draymond Green, but lately is spending more time around the team.
“Like he always does, he’s chiming in when he sees something in the locker room, pointing out some X’s and O’s type of stuff,’’ Curry said. “But more so, when you see him putting time in trying to get healthy, trying to get back out on the floor as soon as possible, that’s motivation for sure.’’
Durant has not talked to the media here and won’t until he’s on the verge of playing, according to Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder.
“He still has not been cleared for a full practice,’’ Kerr said.
Durant’s status has taken on a larger significance beyond what the absence could mean to his future as a free agent. The running theory is if he didn’t make it back for the Finals and the Warriors won without him, it would almost force him to depart. The Knicks are believed to be on his radar.
However beating the Raptors without Durant will be a challenge if Toronto’s two forwards, Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam each look like superstars as they did in Game 1’s 118-109 Toronto victory.
The Warriors have never been considered a deep team. Center DeMarcus Cousins is not expected to be a major factor because of conditioning.
— Marc Berman, New York Post
Bogut set for court time in Game 2
Andrew Bogut appears set to return to the Golden State Warriors’ line-up with coach Steve Kerr repeatedly praising the Australian on the eve of their crucial game two clash with the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors won the NBA championship series opener 118-109 on Thursday in front of a wild Toronto crowd.
Game two is on Sunday (Monday 10am AEST) in Toronto.
“Bogut can make an impact,” Kerr told reporters on Saturday after the Warriors worked out at the Scotiabank Arena.
Bogut was left on the bench in game one while Kerr used 12 other players. The Melbourne-born veteran played in 14 of the past 16 games in the Warriors’ playoff run.
Kerr started 24-year-old forward Jordan Bell at centre in an attempt to combat the Raptors’ speed and said he “did a good job” in the loss.
The coach was also pleased with the return of All-Star centre DeMarcus Cousins who, after sitting out six weeks of the playoffs with a quadriceps tear, had three points and two assists in eight minutes off the bench. Kerr pointed to Bogut when asked about the playmakers he has on the Warriors and also compared the Australian’s passing ability to the Raptors’ veteran centre Marc Gasol.
Gasol had a huge impact in Toronto’s game one win with 20 points, including two open three-pointers, seven rebounds, two steals and one block.
“That was not the strategy the other night — to let him stand there for six seconds,” Kerr, discussing how Gasol was repeatedly left to shoot open three- pointers, said.
“We’d like to be a little sharper than that.” Gasol also repeatedly used his size against smaller defenders for easy baskets in the key, something Bogut would limit.
Kerr, because of injuries to Cousins, Kevin Durant and match-ups with opponents, has had eight different starting line-ups in this year’s playoffs with Bogut, Bell and Damian Jones slotted in as starting centres.
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