Warriors

Durant at same level or above LeBron's, and this isn't new

Durant at same level or above LeBron's, and this isn't new

OAKLAND -- Two games into the NBA Finals, the biggest names on the marquee are living up to the billing, though Warriors superstar Kevin Durant is making an impressive case for being equal to, and maybe above, Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

And it’s not exactly new, either.

Durant’s latest performance in a 132-113 victory in Game 2 on Sunday was even more fantastic than his work in Game 1, which was nothing less than tremendous.

“He’s a reason why we’re able to be who we are,” Warriors teammate Shaun Livingston said.

Durant’s Game 2 statistics: a game-high 33 points (13-of-22 shooting from the field, 4-of-8 from deep, 3-of-3 from the line), a game-high 13 rebounds, a game-high five blocks and a game-high-tying three steals.

No player in league history has posted across-the-board numbers that were equal to, much less better than, those in a Finals game.

It was James who matched Durant’s steals total but even in posting a triple-double (29 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds) in Game 2 was, on the whole, a level below.

Once again.

And Durant was coming off a Game 1 in which he totaled 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 113-91 Warriors victory.

It’s enough to take Draymond Green back to the game on Jan. 17, 2014, when Durant, then a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, torched the Warriors for 54 points. He seemed unstoppable that night, and he’s on a similar plane now.

“When you’ve got somebody doing you like that, it's just like a burning fire in their eye and you know you don't stand a chance,” Green said. “But that's like the look that I see in him throughout these Finals.”

If Durant is on a quest, well, it should be understood. James is someone, perhaps the only someone, against whom he measures himself. His personal record against James before becoming a Warrior was 4-17, including the 2012 Finals, in which James and the Miami Heat defeated the Thunder in five games -- despite Durant posting individual numbers generally superior to those of James.

Since joining the Warriors last summer, though, it’s 3-1, the teams splitting two games in the regular season and the Warriors winning Games 1 and 2 of The Finals.

Durant’s averages over the last four duels: 32.0 points (54.0 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from deep), 10.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.3 blocks.

James’ averages: 27.0 points (50.0 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from deep), 11.7 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.0 block.

If Durant offsets James in these Finals, the Warriors win a championship.

If Durant outperforms James, the Warriors cruise to the top.

“He’s championship basketball,” Livingston said of Durant. “That’s what he’s been playing. You can tell he’s a man on a mission.

“Offensively, that’s what the world sees but what I see is defensively, he’s changing the game. Five blocks tonight and even more shots at the rim that he caused them to miss or alter.”

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

LOS ANGELES -- Aware that Steve Kerr one day earlier urged the Warriors to offer him a long-term contract, Kevon Looney paused and broke into a broad grin at the mention of it Saturday.

“Yeah, I heard what he said,” Looney said. “It’s good to have that kind of support from the coach. I hope it works out.”

Kerr made it clear Friday that he was glad Looney did not leave upon becoming a free agent last summer, adding he believes the 23-year-old center/forward had done enough to earn a long-term deal -- and that he hopes it’s with the Warriors.

So does Looney, who has become a staple of the team’s playing rotation.

“I’d love to stay here,” he said. “I like being on this team. I want to be there when Chase Center opens later this year.”

Looney is earning $1.57 million this season. The valuable backup becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, the second consecutive summer he will hit the market.

[RELATED: Why Iguodala hopes Looney leaves]

This time, however, the Warriors have Bird rights on Looney, giving them considerable financial flexibility to pursue a new contract.

“For two years now, he has been a rock for us,” Kerr said Saturday morning. “So when I mentioned that [Friday], yeah, I really hope that’s here. I want him to be here for a long time. I think everybody in this locker room wants Loon to be rewarded for his effort.”

Looney set career highs in games played (80), minutes (18.5 per game), points (6.3 points per game) and rebounds (5.2 per game), among other categories, during the 2018-19 regular season. He has averaged 11.7 points in the Warriors' three playoff games thus far.

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

LOS ANGELES -- Andre Iguodala has one more year left on his contract, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes the 16-year NBA veteran isn't close to being done.

"I think he can play beyond this contract if he really wants," Kerr said after practice Saturday morning. "He may not want to -- he may just go to the golf course and call it a career -- but he can keep playing if he wants."

Despite his NBA mileage, Iguodala, 34, continues to be a key contributor, averaging 10.7 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the postseason, making good on the three-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Warriors in 2017.

"Not a lot of players who stay relevant deep into their careers, almost all of them have high basketball IQs," Kerr said. "He still has his athleticism. It takes him longer to warm up and longer to cool down, but it's still there."

In Game 3 of the first-round series against the Clippers, Iguodala finished with 15 points, three assists and two rebounds, helping the Warriors take a 2-1 series advantage, showing athleticism not normally seen from a player his age. 

"Some of those dunks the other night, plays he was making in the paint," Kerr said. "The guy is a remarkable athlete, and the combination of his athleticism, his work ethic and his brain is going to allow him to play." 

However, Iguodala might be out of the league sooner than his coach thinks. Last November, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that his NBA days could be numbered. 

“I’m going to be done soon,” he said. “I could probably play a legit five more years, but I’ll probably max out at three more after this year -- maybe three more.

[RELATED: Kerr jokes about trading spots with Iguodala]

“But if I’m not here, that will weigh heavily on what I will do. I possibly have another year here -- if we win. That’s it. I know that. I’m fine with it.”

Only Iguodala knows how long he can play, but however long he wants to stay with the Warriors, it seems his coach will welcome with open arms.