Warriors

DeMarcus Cousins rips Kevin Durant's critics, fans who cheered injury

DeMarcus Cousins rips Kevin Durant's critics, fans who cheered injury

DeMarcus Cousins did not hold back Monday night.

After the Warriors' season-prolonging win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State big man repeated two words to reporters when NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke asked about his reaction to questions about Kevin Durant's heart.

"F--- them, f--- them," Cousins said at Scotiabank Arena following the Warriors' 106-105 win.  

The reigning back-to-back Finals MVP made his 2019 Finals debut Monday, playing just shy of 12 minutes before injuring his Achilles and leaving Game 5. Durant had not played since straining his calf in Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round NBA playoff series on May 8, and he scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in his only action of the Finals.

Cousins started Game 5 outside of the Warriors' rotation, but he was called into action after Durant's injury. The six-time All-Star responded with 14 points off the bench, his highest total since the Warriors' regular-season finale two months ago.

Durant's absence reportedly caused "confusion" and "angst" among his teammates, especially as other Golden State players fought through their injuries, but the reaction of Cousins and other Warriors on Monday were much different. Warriors general manager Bob Myers was moved to tears while announcing Durant had injured his Achilles and that the forward would need an MRI on Tuesday.

Fans at Scotiabank Arena initially seemed to cheer Durant's injury when he went down during the second quarter, before chanting "K-D" as he was helped off the court.

Cousins made it clear that he didn't like the crowd's initial reaction. 

"Trash," Cousins told reporters. "So trash. But like I said, we're idolized as superstar athletes, not human beings. It's always about what we can do between those lines [on the court]. That's it. That's all that ever matters. 

"And then once we lash out and do human-type things, then we're considered bad guys."

[RELATED: KD says he's 'hurting in the soul' after Achilles injury]

Cousins and the Warriors will play one more game at Oracle Arena, on Thursday night in Game 6. They trail the best-of-seven series three games to two and again face elimination.

Kevin Durant can return for NBA playoffs if healthy, Adam Silver says

Kevin Durant can return for NBA playoffs if healthy, Adam Silver says

The NBA is prepared to come back on July 31.

Is Kevin Durant?

Durant hasn't played in a game since rupturing his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals last year. That was his last game with the Warriors before signing with the Brooklyn Nets last summer, and his only competitive on-court action has come in scrimmages with his new teammates. Brooklyn general manager Bobby Marks called the status of Durant's return "a $110 million question" last month, but Marks left the door open for his return.

So did NBA commissioner Adam Silver in an interview with Turner Sports "Inside the NBA" on Thursday, telling panelist Charles Barkley he didn't think it was unfair that players who sustained what were thought to be season-ending injuries to come back when the season restarts.

"We're gonna allow it," Silver said. "And I'd only say, Charles, that this has been the back-and-forth with our teams. There's so much here that's not fair, and we're choosing among multiple bad alternatives given the (coronavirus) pandemic we're dealing with. ... I think, ultimately, to the extent a team has a healthy roster and those players are able to come back, they are eligible to play."

Kevin Durant said last October on ESPN's "First Take" that he didn't expect to play during the 2019-20 season. Durant wasn't set to travel with the Nets when they were scheduled to visit the Warriors at Chase Center on March 12, but the rest of the Nets never played there, either. The NBA suspended its season on March 11 due to the pandemic.

The Nets, as well as the 21 other teams who will make the trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, will play eight regular-season games to determine seeding before the playoffs begin. Brooklyn, currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, would have to play in a play-in series with a slip to eighth or ninth in the conference.

Durant wouldn't be at the peak of his powers after not playing in any games, let alone those with seeding and (eventually) playoff elimination on the line. Inserting a two-time Finals MVP into the lineup would represent a slight improvement, however, as would getting point guard Kyrie Irving, who hasn't played since Feb. 1, back on the court.

[RELATED: Kerr issues message to Warriors fans about his lineups]

Rich Kleiman, Durant's agent, couldn't envision the superstar returning when he was asked about the possibility in March. Nearly three months have passed since then, and close to four will have passed when the Nets would begin training camp in Orlando under the NBA's plan.

If Durant's able to come back, he has the NBA's blessing to do so.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Steve Kerr issues message to questioning Warriors fans about lineups

Steve Kerr issues message to questioning Warriors fans about lineups

Over Steve Kerr's first five seasons as head coach, the Warriors reached the NBA Finals every year and won three titles.

Despite the unprecedented success, certain corners of the fan base have been vocal (on Twitter mostly) in criticizing some of the eight-time NBA champion's rotations and/or five-man combinations.

Kerr was a guest Wednesday on "The TK Show" podcast with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, and addressed that topic during a conversation about "The Last Dance" documentary on the Chicago Bulls.

"Phil (Jackson) was the guy who was never afraid to play anyone in any situation," Kerr said. "So when Warriors fans are up in arms about the lineup that I throw out there, they should really blame Phil because that's where I learned it. (laughter)."

Now that's some funny stuff right there.

The franchise adopted the "Strength in Numbers" mantra the moment Kerr arrived in May 2014, and the Warriors' depth definitely played a part in the team's incredible success from 2015 to 2019.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Without diving too deep into it, Dub Nation certainly questioned some of Kerr's decisions in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. But we will leave it at that.

As for Kerr's philosophy, this is what he said back in early May:

[RELATED: Why Kerr calls '14 Dubs memory one of best feelings of life]

The 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year absolutely is right about this. That dynamic is very powerful and helps build a strong culture.

No coach is perfect. In the end, Warriors fans should trust Kerr's judgment and decision making.

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