NBA rumors: Kevin Durant 'weeks away' from return if not for NBA Finals

NBA rumors: Kevin Durant 'weeks away' from return if not for NBA Finals

Let's dispense with the semantics -- the Warriors are not better without Kevin Durant.

They never have been, but it was obvious during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, a 118-109 Toronto Raptors win, that Golden State needs Durant.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP has been out for nearly three weeks with a strained right calf that he suffered during the third quarter of Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round NBA playoff series against the Houston Rockets. 

While it's unlikely that Durant comes back for Sunday's Game 2 at Scotiabank Arena, the superstar forward reportedly could return in either Game 3 or Game 4 at Oracle Arena.

Durant's potential return is good news for a Warriors team that struggled to score against the Raptors' lengthy, athletic defense in Game 1. However, Durant's injured calf isn't the type of ailment that heals quickly, and he reportedly would be out for much longer if the title wasn't on the line.

via ESPN's Ramona Shelburne:

If this were the regular season, one Warriors source said, Durant would probably be weeks away from returning to action, as this type of calf injury can easily be reinjured.

Durant just recently resumed on-court work and has yet to practice with the team, so it seems clear this is a serious injury that KD is going to try and push through.

Prior to Golden State's Game 1 loss -- their first Game 1 Finals defeat under head coach Steve Kerr -- it seemed like more than a possibility that Durant might not return at all. The injury appears to be severe enough to have Durant sidelined for the remainder of the playoffs, but he knows he's needed if the Warriors are going to complete their quest to three-peat.

[RELATED: Warriors must see Raptors as toughest NBA Finals foe yet]

Durant might return at only 70 or 80 percent, but the Warriors need him out there if he can play.

That was evident in Game 1.

DeAndre Ayton responds to Draymond Green's comments about Devin Booker

DeAndre Ayton responds to Draymond Green's comments about Devin Booker

Draymond Green created quite the stir on social media last Friday, because of his comments -- which resulted in a $50,000 fine -- about Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker.

"It's great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix," the Warriors forward said on TNT's "Inside the NBA" studio show. "It's not good for him. It's not good for his career. Sorry, Chuck (Charles Barkley). But they gotta get Book out of Phoenix.

"I need my man somewhere he can play great basketball all the time and win because he's that type of player."

Suns big man Deandre Ayton was asked about Draymond's opinion during a guest appearance on "The Woj Pod" with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

"We definitely heard that noise. It was promoted everywhere," the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft said. "It's just outside noise. Book is a dude who really maintains focus, and he just wants to win. He's a competitor at the highest peak there is in this league.

"It's contagious. Seeing how he plays out there every day -- it just spreads. Him and I being the head honchos leading, so any noise like that is nonexistent to me."

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

In a nutshell, Ayton took the high road and didn't do anything to stir the pot.

The same cannot be said about the Suns' social media account 

This is funny and great content.

[RELATED: Can pigs fly? Chuck says Warriors have big '20-21 advantage]

Speaking of funny -- here is how Draymond reacted Saturday morning shortly after the league announced his fine.

The four matchups between the Warriors and Suns next season will be must-see TV. Then again, you can say that about every Golden State game.

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Warriors broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald honored to call NBA playoff games

Warriors broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald honored to call NBA playoff games

The Warriors are not an NBA playoff team, but they’ll have representation in the bubble. 

TNT selected Emmy award-winning Warriors play-by-play announcer Bob Fitzgerald to call playoff games in Orlando, Fla. 

“It’s really an honor, it’s something I’m thrilled about,” Fitzgerald said on the latest episode of the Runnin’ Plays podcast

Fitzgerald will call national games on TNT and NBA TV. He knows his first assignment is Tuesday, Aug. 18 for the first round of the playoffs, but he could be handed any series. He’s preparing for all 16 teams.

“Fortunately, being the league as long as I have, I know all the teams,” Fitzgerald, who has spent 25 seasons as a Warriors broadcaster, said.

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

“I’ve seen all the videos and read the protocols and signed my life away,” Fitzgerald joked about preparing for life in the bubble. “The NBA has been amazing in terms of how strict and how professional and how well done the whole bubble concept has been.” 

He’s preparing for some differences in an environment without fans. In the big moments, he typically “lays out” or stops speaking to let crown noise come through. Fitzgerald will have to figure out what to do in a quiet arena.

[RELATED: Report: Warriors playing in Orlando bubble a "non-starter" for NBPA]

“I’m an excitable person,” Fitzgerald exclaimed, “I cheer for the excellence in basketball. If someone blows by for a dunk, you have two choices ... you can accentuate ‘Antetokounmpo went in and dunked it!’, or you can talk about the defender who let him go right by. I’m more a positive person so I’m going to accentuate the accomplishments.

I don’t spend much time trying to kick people in the groin. That ends up being a tiresome way of looking at sports.”