At five pm central time free agency had officially begun, and the leading headline that grabbed everyone's attention was Kevin Durant would be leaving the Bay Area for Brooklyn. Just like that, the Warriors dynasty was over.
Thursday marked the day that many NBA stars had circled on their calendars. The All-NBA teams were named, and for stars like Klay Thompson who will be free agents this summer $30 million dollars were at stake. During a press conference after the Warriors morning practice, Thompson received the news that he did not make one of the three All-NBA teams.
With 2:05 left in the third quarter of a highly contested game 5 Kevin Durant drove baseline right an elevated for a mid-range jumper. The shot bounces off the rim and he turns to run back on defense. In the process he stops looks back as if somebody kicked them, but nobody was there.
Durant immediately starts limping and at that moment a dark cloud covered Oracle Arena. You could hear a pin drop as everyone held their collective breath. Reggie Miller stated what everyone feared that KD may have suffered one of the most devastating injuries a player could suffer, and that is a torn Achilles. Durant limps back to the locker room and just like that Steph Curry steps up and reminds us of his greatness.
Prior to Durant’s injury, Curry was struggling mightily on the offensive end. Mentally he was not there he did not Look focus and he was not sharp. He was 5-15 from the field for 11 points and was a dismal 1-8 from three. Without knowing the extent of Durant’s injury the Warriors needed Curry to shake out of his series shooting slump, and summon the swagger that made him a back to back MVP.
Curry was able to do just that as he scored 16 points on nine shots in Durant’s absence with several coming in classic Steph fashion. On one play, in particular, Clint Capela was switched off on him, and he was able to shake him and side step him creating enough space to knock a deep three-pointer.
One thing that was painfully obvious during this series is that Curry is struggling while Durant is thriving. According to the Ringers’, Kevin O’Connor Curry with KD was 25 points on 17.5 shots per 75 possessions. Without KD, Curry was 30.7 points on 24 shots per 75 possessions these number date back to the 2016-2017 playoffs. According to these numbers Curry’s production increases greatly when KD is off the floor which allows Curry to be his old self. The question now becomes are the Warriors better without Durant? Of course not you are never better without the best player in the NBA not playing, but if there is a silver lining to Durant getting injured is that Curry for a quarter was back to himself.
Now we must patiently wait for the full diagnosis of Durant’s injury as he will be re-evaluated, after having an MRI. The good news he was initially diagnosed with a strained right calf. So he might be able to return for the rest of the series. The Warriors may have to finish this grueling series without Durant, which will be the biggest challenge during their rein. If they are going to defeat the Rockets and move on to the western conference finals they are going to need Curry at the peak of his powers. And at least for a quarter, it seemed like we got just that.
Last night we had a regular-season showdown between the two prohibitive favorites to represent their respective conferences in the NBA finals. The Golden State Warriors were able to hold off the Boston Celtics in a closely contested game 115-111. It was the first meeting between the two teams this season.
The date was January 26, 2018, the Rockets and Pelicans were playing game 48th of 82. It was a close game and DeMarcus Cousins stepped to the free throw line to close out the Rockets and secure the victory. He missed the second free throw in the process of trying to save the ball from going out of bounds he felt that pain in his left ankle every basketball player fears. Cousins suffered a torn left Achilles’ tendon and just like that his season was over and the future of his career would now be filled with question marks.
Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are having one of the greatest offensive seasons ever, and arguably they are making a case to be the greatest duo ever. The dominance of the Warriors over the past five years has gotten monotonous and uneventful for many NBA fans. Since Durant has joined the team there has been a level of dominance that the league has not seen often. Their great play, and many nights their mastery of the game is often taken for granted. The ease on how successful they are on the court is often times taken for granted. The truth is as lovers of the game of basketball we are witnessing something monumental.