Warriors

Kevin Durant won't travel with Warriors, will be re-evaluated in one week

Kevin Durant won't travel with Warriors, will be re-evaluated in one week

The Warriors will be without superstar Kevin Durant not only for Thursday's Game 2, but also Games 3 and 4 in Portland. 

Warriors general manager Bob Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa on "SNC: Warriors Playoff Central" that Durant will stay in Oakland and rehab with Warriors trainer Rick Celebrini while the rest of the team battles the Blazers at Moda Center on Saturday and Monday.

The Warriors issued a statement as Game 2 was getting underway, saying that Durant "has shown good progress" but "is not ready to advance to on-court work." Durant will be re-evaluated in one week. 

A league source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that Durant likely will miss the entirety of the Western Conference finals, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game that KD's injury is "a little more serious than we thought at the very beginning."

Durant originally strained his right calf late in the third quarter of Game 5 against the Rockets in the second round of the NBA playoffs on May 8. Since then, the Warriors have not missed a beat. Golden State held on to defeat Houston in Game 5 without KD, before eliminating the Rockets in Game 6 and taking down the Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

[RELATED: Seth Curry explains why Warriors are harder to guard without KD]

In Durant's absence, Steph Curry has risen to the occasion, averaging 34.5 points in the two games without his fellow MVP teammate. The Warriors will continue to rely on Curry even more as they continue their march towards a third straight championship.

Warriors vs. Lakers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

kerrusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Warriors vs. Lakers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

LOS ANGELES -- When they take the court Wednesday night to face the Lakers, the Warriors will be starting at the possibility of an unwanted first under coach Steve Kerr.

They’ve had losing streaks of two, three and four games -- but never of five.

That’s what they’ll own if they can’t find a way to upset the Lakers. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff from Staples Center scheduled for 7:10.

While the Warriors (2-9) have lost their last four games by an average of 10.8 points, though two of them were close, Los Angeles (8-2) has lost only once since opening night.

If there is anything at all for the Warriors to exploit, it’s the absence of Anthony Davis, who reportedly will sit due to a variety of minor ailments.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F  Glenn Robinson III
F  Draymond Green
C  Willie Cauley-Stein
G  Jordan Poole
G  D’Angelo Russell

Lakers

F  LeBron James
F  Kyle Kuzma
C  JaVale McGee
G  Danny Green
G  Avery Bradley

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), G Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain), G Damion Lee (right hand non-displaced fracture), F Kevon Looney (neuropathy), F Alen Smailagic and G Klay Thompson (right ACL rehab) are listed as out.

Lakers: F Anthony Davis (right shoulder, rib soreness) is listed as doubtful but expected to sit out. C DeMarcus Cousins (right knee rehab) and G Rajon Rondo (right calf strain) are listed as out.

 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: The biggest challenge they face is containing LeBron. Expect no fewer than four different players (Eric Paschall, Alec Burks, Green and Robinson) coming at James, who is doing a fine job directing the LA offense . . . Russell has been fabulous on offense, averaging 38.3 ppg since returning from a three-game stay on the injury list. He might be particularly motivated against the team that drafted him . . . The Warriors are becoming accustomed to playing with a small roster, but the return of C Omari Spellman after a one-game absence gives them three big men, with Marquese Chriss and Cauley-Stein. All three will be needed against the length of McGee and backup Dwight Howard.

Lakers: After missing the first four games with an injury, Kuzma has played in the last six games, coming off the bench averaging 12.3 ppg. If Davis sits, as expected, he likely will get the start ... Though still listed at SF, James is excelling at PG. Always a terrific passer, he is leading the NBA in assists (11.0). His averaging 12.0 apg and 2.8 turnovers over the last six games ... With LeBron leading the way, the Lakers recorded 39 assists, their highest total since April 2009, in a win at Phoenix on Tuesday ... Ex-Warriors G Quinn Cook has played in all 10 games, averaging 15.5 minutes and 5.6 ppg off the bench ... The Lakers are 5-19 against the Warriors over the past six seasons. In the six seasons before that, they were 20-4. The tide may be turning.

Officials: Ed Malloy (crew chief), Karl Lane and Matt Boland. 

Steve Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't really exist

howarddlowarriors.jpg
USATSI

Steve Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't really exist

LOS ANGELES -- Standing in the lobby of UCLA's Mo Ostin Center, Warriors coach Steve Kerr found himself in a unique scenario in his latest trip to Southern California. 

During his coaching tenure, he's won 80 percent of his games against the team he grew up rooting for, including 10 of the last 12 matchups. Now, in a trend Kerr knows all too well, his team seems to be declining as the Lakers are ascending, prompting a familiar question from the coach Wednesday afternoon.

"Have the Warriors and Lakers ever been up at the same time in the history of our league?"

The current iteration of each team's roster indicates the answer is a resounding "no." Four months ago, Los Angeles acquired all-star big man Anthony Davis, pairing him with LeBron James to form one of the league's best duos. Additionally, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka surrounded the core with two-way veterans like Avery Bradley and Danny Green. 

Meanwhile, Golden State's season remains in peril. No longer the prohibitive favorites to win the title, the Warriors have fallen from contention altogether. In five months, they have lost vital pieces, including Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and superstar guard Steph Curry to injury. By Wednesday evening, Golden State could conceivably suit up just nine players at Staples Center. 

The current circumstances mirror the history between both teams. In four postseason matchups, the Lakers have never lost. When the Warriors won their first title on the West Coast in 1975, the Lakers failed to make the postseason. Twelve years later, when the teams played in the first round of the 1987 postseason, the top-seeded Lakers took care of the fifth-ranked Warriors in five games. Four years later, the eighth-seeded Warriors lost again in the first round in four games. 

Fast forward to 2015-2019, where the Warriors won three titles in five years while the Lakers were rebuilding, failing to reach the playoffs over that stretch. The course seemed to change 16 months ago, when superstar forward LeBron James signed with the team in free agency. Los Angeles responded by a 20-14 start, including a 127-101 Christmas Day drubbing of the Warriors at Oracle Arena. 

Then a groin injury -- suffered in the matchup against the Warriors -- sidelined James for much of the season. Adding to the peril, front office turmoil led to the resignation of Vice President Magic Johnson before the season finale and the eventual ousting of coach Luke Walton. 
 
"It looked to me like they were going to be pretty good," Kerr said. "And then they had their own challenges with injuries and other stuff."

Now, Lakers are on top. Following a victory Tuesday night in Phoenix, they're at the top of the Western Conference. Davis -- who isn't expected to play Wednesday night against Golden State -- is averaging 26.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, while James continues to be one of the league's best players, solidifying one of the best cores in the league. 

"It's not surprising," Kerr admitted. "LeBron is one of the best passers in the history of the game. He's got Anthony to work with as a pick-and-pop guy, as a lob threat. You talk about two of the most talented players in the game and they both have great feels so it's not at all surprising."

[RELATED: Warriors must fix ugly defense to avoid hitting rock bottom]

Hope may be on the way for Golden State to balance the matchup going forward. Curry, Green and Thompson are all expected to be healthy by the start of next season, bringing back the core formidable enough to go against Los Angeles. 

"They've been good for a long time," Kerr said. "And they're good again and we're trying to get there."