Shaun Livingston says Warriors 'were dying out there' in NBA Finals loss

Shaun Livingston says Warriors 'were dying out there' in NBA Finals loss

Looking back at the long list of injuries the Warriors dealt with in the 2019 NBA Finals can never be used as an excuse. That doesn't change the reality of the situation, though.

Warriors veteran guard Shaun Livingston perfectly summed up how big of a bite the injury bug took out of Golden State in their six games against Toronto. 

“We were dying out there, to be honest," Livingston said to The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. "It’s crazy. … Kevin. Klay. ‘Loon.’ Dray [Green]. No excuses. Give credit to Toronto. Toronto is a good team. But we respect ourselves. No question.”

Let's take a quick look at the Warriors' injuries. 

  • Kevin Durant strained his right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. He then missed over a month before returning to the Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. In the second quarter, he ruptured his right Achilles and will miss the 2019-2020 season.
  • Klay Thompson missed Game 3 of The Finals with a left hamstring strain. In Game 6, he suffered a left torn ACL with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter. He still scored a game-high 30 points. 
  • Kevon Looney suffered a right first costal cartilage non-displaced fracture in Game 2 of The Finals. He missed Game 3 but played through the pain in the final three contests. He will need six to eight weeks of recovery in the offseason.
  • DeMarcus Cousins missed 14 games after tearing his left quadriceps in Game 2 of the Warriors' first-round series. He returned for Game 1 of The Finals, though he clearly wasn't close to his full health. 
  • Andre Iguodala dealt with a lingering calf injury he suffered in the Western Conference finals. 
  • Steph Curry dislocated his finger in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. 

Going to five straight Finals has played a toll on the Warriors. They will likely look completely different next season, and two of the game's best players -- Durant and Thompson -- will be out for a long, long time. 

[RELATED: Why Warriors won't walk away from Klay, KD despite injuries]

There's risk with every reward, and the Warriors are now seeing the other side of always chasing a ring.

Steph Curry comments on being on plane during Kevin Durant's decision

Steph Curry comments on being on plane during Kevin Durant's decision

Just before 2 p.m. PT on Sunday, June 30, the news broke that Kevin Durant was going to sign with the Nets in free agency.

Later that night, we learned the following from Marcus Thompson of The Athletic:

Stephen Curry flew straight to the New York area from Shanghai, China. But he wasn’t going to pitch Kevin Durant on why he should stay with the Warriors. It was already too late. He was on the plane when the news broke that Durant was leaving for Brooklyn.

During last week's American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Curry had the following exchange with Chris Simms of NBC Sports:

Simms: "Give me the real, because I know I'd be pissed if I had to take a flight from Shanghai to New York..."

Curry: "That's where I say it gets a little soap opera-ish where it's not that big a deal ... 15 hours is a long time in the air, but again -- free agency is crazy."

Simms: "Is it true, like you literally found out going down in the plane -- did you find out that he had made the decision to go with the Nets?"

Curry: "It all happened the way it was supposed to happen. That's what I told him when I met with him -- everybody is going and try and nitpick and break us down, kind of devalue what we accomplished the last three years.

"Can't really play into that. We did some special stuff. He's moving on. We're still gonna be brothers."

Without explicitly answering the question ... Curry seemingly provided an answer.

As Bill Simmons of The Ringer said on his podcast a couple of weeks ago:

"Curry’s plane hasn’t landed yet. He lands and decides to do the dignified thing and he goes to meet KD anyway, basically to say goodbye to him.

"But, from what I’ve heard, the Warriors took that personally."

[RELATEDHidden message behind Warriors retiring KD, Andre's jerseys]

If Curry in fact was annoyed or irritated or frustrated that KD didn't tell him his intentions before boarding the flight in China, that would be completely understandable.

It's also very likely that the two-time NBA MVP isn't going to hold a grudge against Durant and means it when he says it's not a big deal and that the superstars will remain brothers moving forward.

Both things absolutely can be true.

Have a great weekend everybody.

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Why Warriors will retire Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala's jersey numbers

Why Warriors will retire Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala's jersey numbers

When Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City in 2016, reaction from the only franchise he had known was petty and short-sighted. The Thunder deemed the best player in their brief history unworthy of a video tribune upon his return and, one year later, issued KD’s No. 35 to a rookie on a two-way contract.

That stung Durant. Moreover, players around the NBA took note of OKC’s flagrant disrespect toward someone who represented the franchise so well for nine seasons.

Six years earlier, in Cleveland, there was an even more display of sheer immaturity by Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert, who upon LeBron James’ decision to head to Miami wrote a screed to Cavaliers fans in which he described James as a narcissistic, cowardly deserter.

That, too, got around the league – as if it weren’t hard enough to sell NBA players on the merits of Cleveland and OKC.

The Warriors, it seems, are determined to avoid such self-defeating behavior.

Durant announced he was leaving the Warriors for the Nets on June 30. Roughly 24 hours later, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob issued a statement praising KD, concluding with this line: “As long as I am co-chairman of this team, no player will ever wear #35 for the Warriors again.”

This elicited more than a few eye rolls and looks of confusion, folks wondering why such a grand gesture for someone, no doubt great, who was a Warrior for only three seasons.

Lacob is ahead of such people. Maybe not light years ahead, but far enough to see the benefits that may be derived.

In the nine years since Lacob, Peter Guber and friends purchased the Warriors, the franchise has been committed to deep analysis, routinely soliciting a variety of opinions, occasionally resulting in conflict, before proceeding.

Every decision considers not only the next year or two but also the next 10 or 20. The goal is to become the world’s No. 1 franchise, transcending the NBA and sports.

The decision to trumpet the intention to retire Durant’s number was, to some degree, about honoring KD for his contributions. To a greater degree, it was about recruiting for the future.

The message to all future big-name free agents is this: If you come to our team and play an important role in its success, you will receive the highest honor we can give a player.

When the Warriors announced they were trading Andre Iguodala to Memphis on July 7, Lacob was even quicker with his recruiting pitch. The second paragraph of the press release is a statement in which the CEO thanks Iguodala “for all of his contributions and look forward to seeing his number in the rafters at Chase Center.”

Great players on the free-agent market are looking for more than money, minutes and a chance to win. They’ll get at least two of those. They also place value on how a franchise treats its employees. They’ve already canvassed prospective new teammates and wouldn’t be meeting if they didn’t like what they heard. But they also want to hear what those at the top of the business have to say.

There is not a player on earth who wouldn’t be moved by the idea of having, as I can imagine Guber saying, a visual monument to your greatness that will stand forever. Retired numbers have such status, as do statues.

Dangling easily visualized possibilities is perfectly legal as a recruiting tool, part of the routine for college coaches at powerhouse basketball and football programs. There’s a chance Zion Williamson was impressed when Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski pointed to retired jerseys -- Grant Hill and J.J. Redick to name two -- hanging in the rafters at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

[RELATED: Draymond needs to become offensive threat for Warriors]

Durant and Iguodala earned their way to such distinction at Chase Center, even if neither plays a game in the building as a Warrior. It’s gracious of Lacob to state his intention to thank each man with more than a handshake.

But that’s not the only reason for making such firm statements, which can’t be reconsidered without severe backlash.

Lacob understands the value of image and that a positive one can be profitable. Shows of appreciation make their way around the league. No matter how he may feel about a player leaving, he wouldn’t convey pettiness or bile. He’s looking beyond the moment. Far beyond it.