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The Golden State Warriors have cruised to a pair of wins in the first two games of their first-round playoff matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The latter of those contests has come without the services of Kevin Durant, who sat out Game 2 due to a strained left calf that he suffered in the second half of Game 1. In his absence, the Warriors blew past the Trail Blazers 110-81 while recording 31 total team assists with Draymond Green being just four point shy of registering a triple double.
With that in mind, Durant was able to participate fully in a “light” practice on Friday, and he remains questionable to play in Saturday’s game at the Moda Center. According to NBA.com, the former league MVP doesn’t sound too concerned about his status heading into Game 3.
Durant OK - It's You He's Worried About
"It's not life or death. I'm not on my death bed," Durant said. "I got on the court today. It's not the end of the world. ... When I came here a lot of people in this basketball bubble made it feel like it was the worst thing I ever did in life. It felt like I killed somebody. So, I have to step back and look at it and realize it's not serious at all. It's basketball. That's all it is, it's just basketball."
Head coach Steve Kerr also indicated that he’s not ready to declare Durant to be fully healed from his injury, but did state he would have played had it been Game 7 of the series because the injury would not damage his career.
The 28-year-old has played in only four games since returning from a sprained MCL in his left knee and a tibia bone bruise that forced him to miss five weeks of the regular season. The Warriors appear to be taking the precautionary route with Durant’s injury given that it has occurred to the same leg he suffered the original ailment.
In the four games that he has played, the eight-time All-Star has recorded three double-doubles including one in Game 1 with a team-high 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting with 11 rebounds. He also had strong performances in each of the last three regular season games where he averaged 20.3 points on 53.5 percent shooting from the field with 9.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 30.3 minutes played.
If he is unable to take the floor on Saturday, Golden State have already shown this season that they are able to play at an elite level. During his extended absence, the Warriors won 13 straight games including topping the Houston Rockets twice and San Antonio Spurs once while entailing a pair of wins against each team on the road.
This saw Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both led the way offensively with Durant sidelined. During the 13-game win streak, Curry scored 20 or more points in all but two contests highlighted by a pair of 42-point outings. Meanwhile, Thompson had at least 20 points in each game while posting one 40-point performance in that stretch.
Through the first two playoff games, Green has taken centerstage averaging a near triple-double with 12.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 9.5 assists along with 4.0 blocks and 1.5 steals. This has led to him having a tremendous impact on both ends of the floor that has helped the Warriors grab a firm hold on the series.
It has been a smooth transition for Durant in his first campaign with Golden State as he led the team in the regular season in several categories such as rebounding, blocks, free throws made and attempted. In total, he finished the season posting career highs in field goal percentage (53.7), rebounds (8.2), and blocks (1.6) while averaging 25.1 points per game.