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Since then, Golden State has reeled off five straight wins including a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers led by a resurgent Stephen Curry who has relished his revived role as Golden State’s go-to guy.
It’s raised questions about whether the Warriors function better without one of the three best players in the world on the court. They’re definitely more fun to watch.
Are Warriors playing better without Kevin Durant?
The free-wheeling brand of Warriors basketball that won this core’s first NBA championship in 2015 is a welcome sight for basketball fans.
But with either Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo awaiting in the NBA Finals, it’s a ridiculous notion to think that Golden State would be better off without the ability to counter with Durant.
Warriors owner talks about Durant’s Finals status
According to Warriors owner Joe Lacob, they won’t have to.
Lacob spoke with The Athletic in the aftermath of Monday’s Western Conference finals win. And in his joy with the victory, it sounds like he let slip some medical information the Warriors have made an effort to keep tight-lipped since Durant’s injury.
Lacob: ‘He’s coming back now for the Finals’
“I don’t know if you forgot so quickly how in the first round, and the second round, and how everyone was saying Kevin was the greatest player in the world and he was dominant,” Lacob said. “So he was incredibly important. Unfortunately, he got injured. He’s coming back now for the Finals, and so the story’s not fully written yet.”
That’s the first we’ve head of anything that sounds like a confirmation from Golden State that Durant is “coming back for the Finals.”
Head coach Steve Kerr gave an update after Game 2 against the Blazers that the team was “confident that he’ll be back; we just don’t know when.”
Prior to that, the last official injury update from Golden State was that Durant wouldn’t be available through the first four games of the Western Conference finals. We’re now past that time frame, and the Finals won’t start until May 30.
Not an official injury update
Of course a statement from a giddy team owner in the aftermath of a monumental win doesn’t qualify as an official injury update.
But it sure sounds like we can expect Durant to show up for the Finals.
If he does, and the Warriors struggle early, the noise will be loud on which version of these Warriors gives them the best chance to win.
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