Warriors Rumors: Players 'Didn't Understand' Why Kevin Durant Didn't Play Game 4June 9, 2019
Kevin Durant's continued absence in the NBA Finals has reportedly started to wear on the Golden State Warriors—and not just on the court.
Sam Amick of The Athletic reported "irritation grew" in the Warriors locker room following Game 4's loss to the Toronto Raptors. DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney and Andre Iguodala have been playing through injuries during these Finals, and players "simply didn't understand why [Durant] wasn't there."
Amick added that within the Warriors, expectation was that Game 5 was the earliest Durant could return. However, there was hope that he'd be able to make it onto the floor earlier than expected with their season essentially on the line.
The Raptors took a commanding 3-1 lead in the Finals, taking both of the games at Oracle Arena. They'll head home for Monday's Game 5, with Durant's status still up in the air.
"We're hoping [Durant] can play Game 5 or 6," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters before Game 4. "And everything in between I've decided I'm not sharing because it's just gone haywire. There's so much going on, and so it doesn't make sense to continue to talk about it. He's either going to play or he's not.”
Durant has been out since suffering a strained calf in the Warriors' conference semifinals win over the Houston Rockets. They swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the conference finals but have clearly been showing signs of wear without Durant in the Finals. Injuries to Thompson and Looney left the team even more short-handed in Game 3, and Cousins has struggled since returning from a torn quad.
While it's understandable to have a little bit of frustration, Durant would be on the floor if he were healthy. No NBA player is going to "save" himself for an impending free agency with a title on the line; Durant and the medical staff are doing everything they can to get him back on the floor and potentially save this series.
The possibility of Durant returning and aggravating the injury isn't worth the risk if he's unable to play.