After closing out the third-seeded Blazers in overtime on Monday night, completing the 4-0 series sweep, coach Steve Kerr addressed reporters about the ongoing injury absence of star Kevin Durant during the postgame press conference. "Being without Kevin, these last five games, has put us in a really tough spot," Kerr said. He added, "Over a two-year period I think [Curry] missed like 12 playoff games, and I think we won nine of them."
On the one hand, Kerr sent the message that the team needs Durant, while also explaining how it is that the team can manage to win without great players, like Curry.
The Warrior players and coach Kerr have maintained that they are not the same team without KD. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have all been saying the "right" things, to the media, in response to questions about their success sans Durant. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, TNT's NBA Analyst Charles Barkley, and plenty of other well-respected voices in sports media have continued to make the case that Golden State needs Durant in order to beat either of the possible Eastern Conference teams — the Toronto Raptors or Milwaukee Bucks (Bucks lead series 2-1) — in a Finals matchup.
Watching his team battle against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, Durant has been left to his own devices — and he's found his way to social media, again.
Durant, who is no stranger to social media beef, was apparently triggered by this Twitter post by Fox Sports' Chris Broussard:
If Warriors win title without KD, does that diminish his 2 rings? https://t.co/jhwklmTUcu— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) May 20, 2019
The Chronicle's Ann Killion originally broke the story, highlighting KD's response to Broussard as well as his short-tempered swipe at a seemingly random Twitter-user.
I see a little exaggeration there buddy, my worst nightmare?? U sure that this is the worst that it can get???— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) May 20, 2019
Questioning Broussard's speculation about what bothers him most is not surprising, given Durant's tendency to lash out at media members who criticize him and strike a nerve. However, the star forward takes it to another level when he allows an random Twitterer to chime in and provoke a seemingly agitated response, such as this:
U right, lemme chill before my sensitivity flare up. u real one bro!!🙏🏾 https://t.co/0hwc0K3Vfh— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) May 20, 2019
Athletes are constantly bombarded with tons of negativity, particularly coming from individuals on social media, and can get caught up in controversies that should just altogether be ignored. Understandably so, Durant is in a situation where he is being talked about without the opportunity to allow his All-NBA ability, on the basketball court, do the responding.
LeBron James, heading into his third Finals appearance in his second year with the Miami Heat, was the subject of daily scrutiny and second-guessing. The way these high-profile professional athletes overcome this type of attention is to ignore it and dominate on the court or the field of play.
KD's job, right now, is to focus his mind, body, and spirit on healing and rehabilitating his strained calf, so that the Warriors can have his much-needed services available for their next test. Getting involved in petty Twitter tussles does nothing to aid in the healing and rehab process, and is arguably counter-productive to that endeavor. Perhaps being joined by his Golden State brothers will help insulate Durant from the outside noise, as this team prepares for the rigors of a fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.
Photo: Game-Face Photos