NBA

Durant says 'nobody' at Warriors pressured him to play in NBA Finals

By Sports Desk August 07, 2019

Kevin Durant has set the record straight about whether the Golden State Warriors pressured him to return from injury and play against the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals.

The now-Brooklyn Nets star opened up about the events leading up to the ruptured Achilles he suffered in the first half of Game 5.

According to him, Golden State's staff do not deserve the blame.

"Hell, no. How can you blame [the Warriors]? Hell, no," Durant told Yahoo Sports. "I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back. Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back.

"It was only me and [director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] working out every day. Right when the series started, I targeted Game 5. Hell, nah. It just happened. It's basketball. S*** happens. Nobody was responsible for it. It was just the game. We just need to move on from that s*** because I'm going to be back playing."

Durant had strained his calf in a second-round series against the Houston Rockets and missed the team's sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers.

When Durant finally stepped back on the court in the championship series, he torched Toronto for 11 points in 12 minutes before suffering the possible career-altering injury.

Durant said he is focused on moving forward and making a comeback.

"Yeah, I still think about that night," Durant said. "Every experience I've been through in the league is obviously always ingrained in my mind, but that one is definitely always going to be a huge part of my career because it's the biggest stage and the type of injury I had.

"But now I look at it as me just going out there playing basketball, and I happened to get hurt. And now I'm just waiting to get back. I know it's a huge deal to everybody else, but I just try to take it on the chin and keep it moving."

Durant will play alongside his close friends Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in Brooklyn. When Durant was asked why he joined a team that finished 2018-19 with a 42-40 record and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, he kept his answer short and sweet.

"Because I wanted to," Durant said. "The basketball was appealing."

Durant averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the Warriors last season and was named Finals MVP twice in his three years with the team.

While he will likely miss all of 2019-20, it appears like he is content with his new team.

"If I was leaving the Warriors, it was always going to be for the Nets," Durant said. "They got the pieces and a creative front office. I just like what they were building."

Related items

  • Anthony Davis 'trying to figure it out' with LeBron James after loss to Clippers Anthony Davis 'trying to figure it out' with LeBron James after loss to Clippers

    Anthony Davis says he and LeBron James are "trying to figure it out" as he outlined areas for improvement after the Lakers lost to Los Angeles rivals the Clippers in his debut for the team.

    The Clippers triumphed 112-102 at Staples Center on the NBA's opening night, Kawhi Leonard starring with a game-high 30 points.

    Davis made an impact – he had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a 37-minute outing - but is aware the team have adjustments to make ahead of Friday's home game against the Utah Jazz.

    The six-time All Star was disappointed with the Lakers' defensive effort as they surrendered 40 points in the second quarter and knew that their bench being outscored 60-19 was significant.

    Davis is also aware it will take time for he and James to gel perfectly in the star-studded Lakers lineup, which saw Danny Green score 28 points in his first outing for the team.

     "For us, we're both aggressive," Davis said of playing with James.

    "Sometimes we kind of miss each other. I missed him a couple times and he missed me, so just trying to figure it out.

    "We know we are going draw a double team, [so it is about] knowing where everyone else is. When you have two guys who are passers it makes it a little bit easier but we're still learning.

    "This is game one of many. We're all gonna look at the film and see where we could get better. We made some good plays but the defense we definitely have to clean up and get better at.

    "When we started doing what we were supposed to do defensively we got back in the game and tied it up, then we had some costly turnovers at the wrong time of the game." 

    Davis added: "They had over 50 points off the bench. If we allow that, we deserve to be beat. 

    "Obviously [injured] Kyle Kuzma would help. He's very talented and able to score. But we just missed a couple of shots, Quinn [Cook] missed a couple. 

    "It's the first game, we are not down or upset. We stand level headed, go into the next game, will figure out what we can do better and make some adjustments against Utah."

    Of his first game as a Laker, Davis added: "It felt good to be out there. Trying to get it going. 

    "It's been a while since I played in a game so it was fun for me to get back out on the floor with my team-mates. We obviously don't like the outcome but we're going have a chance to get better.

    "It was a very anticipated game and a great atmosphere. First quarter it definitely felt like a playoff game."

  • Emotional Kawhi Leonard hails 'amazing' LA return after winning Clippers debut Emotional Kawhi Leonard hails 'amazing' LA return after winning Clippers debut

    Kawhi Leonard was filled with emotion as he described an "amazing" return to Los Angeles after leading the Clippers to victory over the Lakers on the NBA's opening night.

    Without Paul George, the Clippers won 112-102 against a Lakers team containing LeBron James and Anthony Davis at Staples Center.

    Leonard produced an influential performance, as a game-high 30 points came with six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.

    He was heavily booed by Lakers fans after turning down the chance to join the team in favour of joining their city rivals.

    But Leonard, who won the NBA title with the Toronto Raptors last year, provided the perfect answer, hitting seven straight shots at one stage as the Clippers scored 40 points in the second quarter.

    "All those emotions went through me again," Leonard said of his Clippers debut back in his hometown.

    "Once I'm playing the game, I'm locked in. But before the game last night there were a lot of emotions, knowing my family was going to be here and that I'm going to be playing here at Staples, my hometown – it's just amazing.

    "It was great, a lot of emotions, game one. I'm just happy we came out and got a victory. We played a great practice the last week, everyone competing and pushing everybody's limits and we had some carry over.

    "I just made shots pretty much. I felt like I got to my spots early, missed some little chippies but started making shots. That's what happens."

    Lakers fans targeted Leonard with boos when the lineups were announced and again as he attempted to address the Clippers' fans before the game.

    "I just heard a loud noise," he said. "I was just trying to be as loud as I can. I wasn't sure if the Clipper fans were being loud or if it was the Laker fans.

    "I didn't pay attention to it too much. I was just trying to let the fans know the appreciation we have for them for coming out."

    Clippers coach Doc Rivers was impressed by Leonard's first outing, while also recognising the importance of the bench, who outscored the Lakers' second unit 60-19.

    "He talks with his game," Rivers said of Leonard. "I think that's the way it should be. It's a great sign of leadership.

    "He was intense. You could feel the intensity, there's no doubt about that. And this bench is going to be better this year than even last year."

    Leonard, who was 10-of-19 shooting in 32 minutes, added: "These guys were a playoff team last year, they fight hard every single night. We are not going to stop just because I'm here or Paul's here.

    "We're missing a couple more pieces still, with Paul and a great defender Rodney [McGruder] too."

    The Clippers have another high-profile game up next, on the road against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

  • LeBron 'just trying to get back to who I am' as Lakers lose opener to Clippers LeBron 'just trying to get back to who I am' as Lakers lose opener to Clippers

    LeBron James was "ecstatic" to be back in action at the start of the new NBA season, even though he was unable to help the Los Angeles Lakers to victory on opening night.

    Having missed the end of the previous campaign with a groin injury, James scored 18 points and also contributed nine rebounds and eight assists during his 36 minutes on court.

    However, the 15-time All-Star was unable to help the Lakers avoid defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers, Kawhi Leonard contributing a team-high 30 points on a successful debut for his new franchise.

    Asked how it felt to be back in action after such a long break, James replied: "Ecstatic. I was so excited to get back on the floor.

    "Obviously a little rusty in terms of my perimeter shooting and being in a game situation. I haven't played that many minutes in quite a while, since I sat the last nine games out of last season.

    "But just to be able to go out there and fly around again, jump high and be at 100 per cent, that's something I worked my tail off after I had the groin injury in December.

    "I'm just trying to get back to who I am, so it was great to be out there."

    Anthony Davis had 25 points for the new-look Lakers, who led after the first quarter before giving up 40 points in the second. They also struggled down the stretch, while the Clippers' bench outscored them 60-19 in a 112-102 triumph.

    James, though, refused to be too concerned by the result, instead choosing to see the bigger picture.

    "It's the first game. Obviously the NBA is back and everybody is having the narrative of a rivalry game and it being a huge test," the three-time NBA champion told the media.

    "Both teams are not where they want to be. We have a lot of room to improve. We are a new group that's coming together. We have a new coaching staff and a new system.

    "It's not a rivalry – we are trying to get better every day. We did some good things, we did some not-so-good things. That happens in game one, especially for a new club.

    "We will look to get into the film room tomorrow and look at some of the mistakes we've made, where we can get better."

    The Lakers are back in action on Friday at home against the Utah Jazz.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.