The Golden State Warriors will have to go another game without the two-time reigning Finals MVP.
As the Warriors try to climb out of a 2-1 hole in the NBA Finals, they’ll have to do so without Kevin Durant. Despite previous indications that Durant would scrimmage on Thursday to prepare for a possible return in Game 4, the veteran forward was unable to do so and has been officially ruled out by head coach Steve Kerr for Friday’s game due to his calf injury.
While it’s certainly good news for the Warriors that Klay Thompson will return from his one-game absence due to his hamstring injury, the Golden State is still short on firepower. Stephen Curry may be the team’s most valuable player, but Durant is the team’s best player. He was leading the league in postseason scoring with 34.2 points per game and lifted the Warriors to a first-round series victory over the Los Angeles Clippers after scoring 38 points in the first half of the series-clinching Game 6 victory.
Durant’s calf injury continues to be clouded in some mystery as he hasn’t played since May 8. While the injury initially appeared to be minor, the team has never given a definitive timetable regarding his return.
The Warriors struggled drastically in Game 3 without Durant, Thompson and Kevon Looney, finishing the game shooting just 39.6 percent from the field. Despite Curry’s playoff career-best 47 points on an effective 6-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc, Golden State struggled to score points, with the rest of the team scoring just 62 points.
Golden State know’s history wouldn’t be on their side if they were to fall down 3-1 in this series. Just one team in NBA history has come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals — when the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers accomplished the feat against the 73-win Warriors.