With the 2019 NBA Finals still more than a week away, and the Bucks-Raptors series moving on to Game 6 (TOR leads 3-2), the Golden State Warriors are looking forward to getting each of their injured players healthy and game-ready. Most importantly, the status of Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins will be talked about, at length, over the coming days.
The Warriors PR team released a statement, on Thursday, revealing the latest details on the two stars' injury situations.
Kevin Durant & DeMarcus Cousins injury update: pic.twitter.com/nMyQG0yKDl— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) May 23, 2019
With Durant "unlikely" to play in Game 1 and DeMarcus expected to make an appearance "at some point," coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors appear to be in line to open their next series without either star. To recap, Cousins has been absent dating all the way back to the Warriors' first-round series versus the LA Clippers, when the big man tore his left quadriceps muscle in Game 2, on April 15th. KD hasn't played since Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, following his scary third-quarter injury against the Houston Rockets.
In the absence of Durant and Cousins, Golden State has played a much more fluid form of offense, relying on more ball-movement and constant off-the-ball action and screening. There have been noticeably fewer isolation plays, meaning opponents haven't had the opportunity to relax on defense, leading to open looks and easy back-cut layups for the Warriors. Quickly adjusting to their new personnel, Golden State went back to relying on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for volume-scoring, Draymond Green for being the offensive floor-general, and a combination of Andre Iguodala, Klay, and Green carrying the torch defensively.
Over the course of those five-plus games without KD and Cousins, the Dubs were undefeated–6-0, including the game in which Durant was hurt. In those games, Golden State was able to win big, withstand early runs by their opponents, and come back from huge halftime and late-game deficits. They even outlasted the Blazers, on the road, in overtime, when Portland was fighting for their playoff lives. Perhaps entering this year's Finals down Durant and Cousins will lead some to foolishly count the Warriors as underdogs. We've seen what happens when you doubt Steph and Klay...