At his media availability today, Golden State Warriors head coach confirmed that Kevin Durant has been cleared to practice and will do so with his teammates today.
Steve Kerr says Kevin Durant will practice today. pic.twitter.com/TSXHdemoQb— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 9, 2019
As seen in that video, Kerr confirms that Durant is doing more today than he’s been able to do yet, which makes him hopeful that Durant’s return is near, and they’ll know more about his status following today’s events.
Durant’s return, if it comes in Game 5 certainly gives this series another level of interest. His status has hung over this series like a guillotine; how the Warriors have looked with and without him, his imminent free agency, his “toughness” and willingness to play through pain... well, there are more than enough Durant-related stories to go around.
What it means for the Raptors and Warriors on the floor, of course, is huge. If he plays and is healthy or close to it, the Warriors are getting an all-time great player back in their lineup, one who plays both ends; he’ll guard Kawhi Leonard and make Leonard work the other way, adding to Leonard’s already-considerable burden. Even if he’s hobbled and moving at, say, 60%, he still gives the Warriors shooting and depth they sorely need.
On the other hand, his return could foul up whatever remains of the Warriors chemistry. He’s never been a perfect fit in their system, often feeling like a freelancer doing his own thing within the offense (much the same way Leonard has for the Raptors at times this season); will that chemistry work itself into form in one game? Maybe he’ll make their already-rickety defense works. Or, perhaps his teammates will relax a bit and be overconfident, thinking that he’s back to save them. And winning three straight elimination games, two of them on the road, in the NBA Finals? That’s tough for anyone, including a Warriors team with a fully healthy Durant.
Then there’s this: The Raptors aren’t scared of anyone, even the Warriors with Durant, and can beat anyone — including the Warriors with Durant. They appear to be fully locked in, ready to take care of business, and I don’t think they care who’s wearing the other uniform.
Game 5 tips Monday night at 9:00 p.m.