Warriors

Kevin Durant's basketball life flashed before eyes after Achilles injury

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USATSI

Kevin Durant's basketball life flashed before eyes after Achilles injury

Kevin Durant is unlikely to step on the court in an NBA game this season. The last time he did, he tore his Achilles, one of the toughest injuries for basketball players to fully recover from.

The person that began defending Durant on the play on which he was injured was none other than Toronto's Serge Ibaka, who previously played alongside the two-time Finals MVP while both were members of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The two former teammates recently met up for the newest episode of Ibaka's Bleacher Report show, 'How Hungry Are You?', and Durant confessed what was going through his mind at the moment when his Achilles gave out.

"I felt like my whole basketball life flashed before my eyes," Durant told Ibaka. "I thought about everything I did from like the first time I played until then. That was the first time that something like that ever happened to me on the court. 

"I guess it just relaxed me a bit as I thought about it because I'm like, 'Man, I've been through everything and this is something else I've got to get over, so let me get my ass up, walk to the locker room and figure out what's next."

Before such a serious thought crossed Durant's mind, a far more comical one did so first.

"First of all, when you switched out on me, I was like, 'Why would y'all switch Serge out on me?" Durant questioned with a laugh. "Even though I'm a little hobbled right now, this a bucket. That's what I was thinking.

"And it's crazy how fast your mind switches, cuz in a matter of the next second, it was like I was on the ground thinking about my whole basketball career. It happened so fast, and once I got back to the back and realized what happened, I was just like, 'Alright, man, let me figure out ... when can I get surgery?'

"I was just trying to move on to the next step so fast and not dwell on it too much."

[RELATED: Who's better: Steph or Russ? KD makes his choice clear]

Little did we know at the time that Durant's next step would lead him to Brooklyn.

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!

Steve Kerr's patience thinning, but Warriors see no real alternatives

Steve Kerr's patience thinning, but Warriors see no real alternatives

LOS ANGELES – Steve Kerr spent a few minutes before tipoff Wednesday night musing about his predicament, which has transformed him into a coach Jordan Bell and Damian Jones, to name two former Warriors, would not recognize.

A coach with no choice but to tolerate the messes made by a roster heavy on youth and thinned by a slew of injuries.

“We’ve had anywhere from eight to 10 guys available each night,” Kerr said before a 120-94 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “There are nights where I would love to take someone out based on a mistake they made. But I can’t take them out.

“We don’t have that hammer, as a coaching staff, to be able to reward guys with playing time or penalize them by taking playing time away.”

So, the mistakes keep coming, with no real consequences for those who make them.

“We’ve already improved some,” Draymond Green said after the game. “But we’ve got a long way to go. A long way to go.”

The Warriors conducted defensive drills during their morning shootaround – something they haven’t done since 2014-15 – because the coaching staff feels a need to emphasize and reemphasize points that might keep them from remaining the worst defensive team in the NBA.

“It’s crazy,” Green said of the morning session. “It’s interesting. It’s different. But you’ve got to teach. The thing about the NBA is you don’t have a ton of practices. So, you have to kind of teach on the fly. I get it.”

Being spanked by a potent Lakers team won’t help their horrid numbers and will only provide more video to study in hopes of learning. LA shot 53.9 percent from the field, including 45 percent from beyond the arc. In the first half, when the game was being decided, those numbers were 63 percent and 50 percent.

“Defensively, we never really had any traction,” Kerr said afterward. “We had some spells where we made some good things happen offensively, maybe got a stop or two. But every time it felt like we were right there, we just couldn’t get a stop.

“It’s almost impossible to win in this league when you can’t count on getting three stops in a row at some point.”

These standards, set by the great Warriors teams of recent seasons, are new and daunting for rookies Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall, who previously would have been in sit-and-learn mode this season. In addition, the veterans new to the Warriors – Alec Burks, Willie Cauley-Stein, Glenn Robinson III and D’Angelo Russell – are having their own difficulties.

There is no choice but to live with the turnovers (Russell had five), the late defensive rotations and offensive sequences destined for segments on Shaqtin’ A Fool.

The Warriors are, in short, "Mistakes R Us."

Green and the veteran coaches who over the last five seasons prodded and pushed in pursuit of perfection can only watch and sigh. And contain the frustrations while waiting for lessons to be absorbed.

Bell and Jones are gone largely because they came into circumstances wherein there was very low tolerance for errors, particularly mental errors. They were kids among champions, new to a franchise chasing history, and simply were unable to approach the ultra-high standards set by such players as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – as well as regal veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

So, when a youngster made a mistake in a game, Kerr was quick to summon a vet. He was coaching for wins, not growth. That was for practice.

Now, the focus is on growth with the faint hope it might lead to some victories. The Warriors are 2-10, with one proven scorer, Russell, and little reason to believe they can produce a startling turnaround.

“It’s understandable that we’re taking some licks, given the state of our team right now,” Kerr said. “But we have to learn from our mistakes. We’ve got to get better from game to game, especially defensively. It has to come.

“Not seeing it right now.”

[RELATED: What we learned as Warriors losing streak hits five games]

It’s not visible. It’s not there. It should get better, simply because the labor is not being questioned.

Until then, there is nothing that can be done by Kerr or Green or any of the coaches, all of whom are accustomed to repairing strategic issues in a matter of minutes, and penalizing those who couldn’t keep up.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- The Warriors' descent to the bottom of the league standings has been a sight to see through the first month of the season. 

On Wednesday, they added to the futility, losing to the Lakers 120-94, dropping their fifth straight contest. 

The loss marked Golden State's first five-game losing streak under coach Steve Kerr and snapped a three-game regular-season winning streak over Los Angeles. 

LeBron James made easy work of the Dubs' putrid defense, scoring a game-high 23 points to go with 12 assists, while former Warrior JaVale McGee finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. 

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Defensive doldrums

Warriors Insider Monte Poole did the honors of providing Golden State's woeful defensive stats, so I'll spare you the trouble. Nonetheless, the Warriors continued their season-long defensive struggle, allowing the Lakers to use this game as a cardio exercise. 

Playing against a battered squad, the Lakers pounced early, shooting 69 percent in the first quarter, including five 3-pointers. LeBron James scored 19 first-half points, adding six rebounds as the Lakers scored 64 points in the paint. 

Kerr has lamented his team's defense for most of the season, but Wednesday's performance tapped into what frustrates him the most: a total lack of effort. Under the current circumstances, the Warriors' lack of depth will assure that they'll lose most nights, but that doesn't mean they have to go down without a fight.  

Rebounds anyone?

Coinciding with Golden State's defensive woes was its inability to attack the glass, getting outrebounded 51-33 on the night. By the end of the evening, no player even cracked double digits in the category. 

Entering Wednesday, the Warriors were near the bottom of the league in rebounding, averaging just over 40 boards per game. With a frontline depth chart that included JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, Los Angeles had the size to overwhelm Golden State's small frontline. 

But rebounding is about desire and as the Warriors showed Wednesday, they had very little of it. 

[RELATED: Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't exist]

D'Angelo Russell shines 

In what has become a trend in recent weeks, D'Angelo Russell had a solid offensive night Wednesday, scoring 21 points to go with eight assists. 

Entering Wednesday, he was averaging 26.3 points and 6.5 assists per game, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. Offense has never been an issue for Russell, and with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry out, he'll have full rein of the offense and should flourish. 

Moving forward, he'll need to put the same amount of effort on the defensive end for the Warriors to have a slight chance most nights.