Warriors

The true and enduring response to why Durant left Oklahoma City

durant-russ.jpg
AP

The true and enduring response to why Durant left Oklahoma City

So Kevin Durant apparently got his Twitter feeds crossed (and what the hell is he doing with multiple feeds anyway?) and said some mean things about the Oklahoma City Thunder to the world.

Swell. Now what else have you got?

Durant has been feeling his intercommunicative oats all summer, getting his own back after being cuffed around by the Keyboard Irregulars for leaving his old team for fame, fortune, and then more fame and fortune.

[RELATED: Durant deletes tweets critical of Thunder, OKC players, Billy Donovan]

But now it’s gone on awhile, and he picks up trolls and responds back at a serious rate, giving off a vibe that he is General Ulysses Grant trying to re-litigate the Civil War after he already won it and is standing on Robert E. Lee's head.

That’s the thing here. He’s won it, all of it. He has a ring he would not otherwise have. He has regular VIP access to the largest economic engine on the planet. He lives in a place where a thunderstorm is big news rather a sign that it’s 4:30 in the afternoon. What is left for him to fight about?

The answer used to be to silence critics who could not see 2 + 2 without wanting it to be 7. Now, though, it seems to be to demonstrate that his skin is probably thinner than it needs to be.

Maybe this is just him muscle-flexing after years of being quiet. Maybe this is him falling in love with the sight, sound and feel of his own thoughts. Maybe he has a lot more resentment about the hysterical reaction to this move thing than he ever let on.

But we’ve well and truly reached the “okay, okay, we get it” stage. The true and enduring response to why he left Oklahoma City is “Because he is a knowledgeable man.” If he didn’t like Russell Westbrook, fine. If he liked Russell Westbrook but didn’t like head coach Billy Donovan, fine again. If he liked both of them but didn’t like the rest of the roster, fine one more time. If he liked it all but was charmed by Joe Lacob and Bob Myers in a way that Clay Bennett and Sam Presti could not, fine squared.

No matter what the reason or reasons, the point has been made. Championship, awards, acclaim, jewelry, parade, business opportunities – he’s run the table, especially if you want to get pointlessly granular and say he has the better shoe company.

But the idea that you must repave the same road every chance you get doesn’t change the fact that the road is being traveled too much. Kevin Durant is the winner, so engaging the stubborn and dim to prove it seems, well, like there’s a shark on the horizon and he’s giving some thought to jumping it.

Steve Kerr offers insight into why Draymond Green is sitting vs Blazers

draymond-celtics-ap.jpg
AP

Steve Kerr offers insight into why Draymond Green is sitting vs Blazers

OAKLAND -- The Warriors made it clear Sunday that Stephen Curry would not be available Monday night against Portland, and they announced Monday morning that Zaza Pachulia also would miss the game.

Not until two hours before tipoff against the Blazers was it announced that forward Draymond Green, who had been listed as probable, also would not be available.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr studied video of the Blazers’ last game, considered their available playing rotation and decided Green’s tender right shoulder could benefit from a night off.

“That’s a big part of it,” Kerr said in his pregame news conference. “I watched their Houston game from other day. It looked like the old 6-5 and Under League. Lots of shooting, lots of spacing. They’re hard to guard. They run good stuff.

“So we’ve got to stay home with shooters and cover penetration. You’ll see our lineups reflect that.”

Green missed the game last Wednesday in Charlotte but returned, at less than full strength, to play last Friday at Detroit, his home state. Though he had a highly productive game, the Warriors don’t want to push the issue.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Kerr said. “It’s enough to keep him from playing tonight. It’s been bothering him the last few days and it’s still aggravated, so we won’t play him tonight.”

Gameday: Warriors double-digit favorites vs Blazers

durant-kevin-drive-blazers.jpg
USATI

Gameday: Warriors double-digit favorites vs Blazers

UPDATE (5:47pm PT on Monday): Draymond Green will miss Monday's game against the Blazers due to a shoulder injury, Steve Kerr announced before the game.

***

OAKLAND -- The Warriors make their first appearance at Oracle Arena in two weeks Monday night, when they face the reeling Portland Trail Blazers.

The Warriors (21-6) are entering a stretch during which they play nine of their next 10 games at home. They own a six-game win streak, and the last two were without two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Kevin Durant immediately raised his game to a higher level.

This is the first of a five-game road trip for the Blazers (13-12), who have lost four in a row, all at home.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Shaun Livingston/Quinn Cook/Klay Thompson vs. Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum: Lillard and McCollum are the highest-scoring backcourt in the NBA. Both have deep range, with McCollum shooting 44.3 percent beyond the arc at Lillard at 35 percent. Lillard is a very proud Oakland native who always seeks to put on a show for his homecomings. Though the absence of Stephen Curry takes some of the shine off the backcourt battle, the Warriors have a full understanding that offsetting Lillard and McCollum is the key to beating Portland.

INJURY REPORT

WARRIORS: G Pat McCaw (concussion, nose contusion) is listed as questionable but will play. G Stephen Curry (R ankle sprain) and C Zaza Pachulia (L shoulder soreness) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

BLAZERS: F Maurice Harkless (L quad soreness) and C Jusuf Nurkic (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Trail Blazers: 5-5

GAME OFFICIALS

James Capers (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott.

SERIES HISTORY

This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Warriors swept the four-game series last season, winning by average margin of 19.5 points. They have won the last six games, the last six in Oakland 15 of 18 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE KD SHOW: Durant was good before Curry went down. He has since been outstanding, making an impact at both ends. He’s a matchup nightmare for most opponents, and the Blazers are no different. Expect them to turn to their best frontcourt defender, Al-Farouq Aminu, to try and slow Durant. If KD plays as inspired as he has over the past two games, it probably won’t matter.

THE PACE: The Warriors will want to speed the game up at every opportunity, something with which the Blazers are not entirely comfortable. Portland is dead last in fast-break points per game (4.5) and 27th in points off turnovers (14.6 per game). The Blazers are largely dependent on jump shots out of half-court sets. The Warriors have had success lulling them into a run-and-gun battle.

THE BIGS: Having both starting centers out sets up a curious battle between JaVale McGee of the Warriors and Meyers Leonard of the Blazers, similarly athletic but unorthodox 7-footers who offset evident weaknesses with high field goal percentages (54.7 for McGee, 62.5 for Leonard) and high efficiency ratings (19.39 for McGee, 22.35 for Leonard). Should be fun to watch.