Warriors

Kevin Durant looks frisky, plans to be 'full throttle' in first game back

Kevin Durant looks frisky, plans to be 'full throttle' in first game back

OAKLAND -- After completing a full scrimmage with his teammates as well as a lively post-practice workout Friday, Kevin Durant pronounced himself fit and ready to return to the Warriors.

The 6-foot-9 forward is scheduled to be in the starting lineup Saturday night when the Warriors face the Pelicans at Oracle Arena.

“I looked at the big picture and I figured that at some point, I’d get better,” Durant said. “That day is here and I’m thankful.”

Durant missed 19 full games and nearly all of another when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tibial bone bruise in the first minute of a Feb. 28 game against the Wizards in Washington.

“When you get banged up in that area, it’s going to take some time for you, mentally, to feel like everything is all right,” he said. “Today was one of those days where I went out there and played and practiced with the guys and I felt normal. I’ve been waiting for that feeling for a couple weeks.”

Durant returns with three games remaining in the regular season, and the playoffs looming next weekend.

“It’s great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s perfect for him to get three games before the playoffs start, to get his conditioning, his timing and his rhythm. It’s good for our team because we can blend rest and rhythm.”

The team’s training staff and coaches will monitor Durant, but there is no plan for a firm restriction on playing time.

“He’s healed,” Kerr said. “His ligament is healed. So it’s really just about monitoring how he feels. If he gets fatigued, I’m going to take him out. So I don’t really have a number on the minutes played that I’m looking at.”

Durant looked frisky during his post-practice session on Friday, raining pull-up jump shots, shooting 3-pointers from all around the arc and soaring in for dunks. He did wear a brace and says he has not decided whether to wear one Saturday night.

“I’m just going to go out there and be me,” he said. “I can’t think about how I’ll feel, because I’ll end up holding back. I just want to go out there full throttle and see what happens.”

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Do you remember what happened with about 35 seconds left in OT during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals?

In case you forgot:

The Warriors led by 11 points and with the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry attempted a driving layup and LeBron James blocked it.

LeBron proceeded to talk some trash to Curry and even used a little forearm to nudge him away when Curry said something in return.

On the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Curry shed some light on the exchange.

Simmons: "He blocked you and he talked sh*t to you. I thought you guys were gonna fight."

Curry: "It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment ... I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?' And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

Simmons: "I want more of it. I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Good. That is awesome.

A couple other takeaways from the podcast:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

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AP

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

With the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Ricky Rubio.

With the sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Jonny Flynn.

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select... Stephen Curry.

And the rest is history.

As you all know, the man in charge of those selections -- David Kahn -- was fired in 2013 and no longer works in the NBA.

"My guy David Kahn. I don't know where he's at right now," Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I don't know if that ever came out -- there's a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf -- play it in my spare time and what not.

"I think the word on the street was that he didn't draft me because in Minnesota it's cold and I wouldn't be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable."

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: "Is that true?"

"I hope it's true because that's hilarious (laughter)," Curry said. "That's hilarious."

To which Simmons responded: "It was idiotic in the moment. I did a draft diary. I was going nuts. Because if you're gonna take two point guards, how are you not one of the two? And then if you're gonna go all-in on Rubio and you don't even know if he's gonna come over..."

Rubio didn't leave Spain for the NBA until the 2011-12 season, and a hip injury unfortunately ended Flynn's career after just two plus seasons.

There's no way we will ever find out if that golf story is true, but just like Steph... we certainly hope it is.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller