In 2016 we were given an overload of “The Warriors Blew a 3-1 Lead” jokes after Golden State collapsed after being up 3-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Now they stand on the other side of a 3-1 lead and need to pull off a monumental comeback in order to preserve their dynasty.
It is important to remember that the Warriors once erased a Western Conference Finals (also in 2016) 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder and ironically the man they need the most to climb back into this series, Kevin Durant who has averaged 40.5 PPG against the Raptors this season.
The Durant-less Warriors were decimated in game 3 with Klay Thompson also missing from the starting lineup and subsequently suffered another double digit loss after Thompson’s return in game 4.
The way the Warriors have played the last two games has fans surprised by the Warriors shortcomings in this series and for those who can’t deal with the Warriors failure. Where does that bring them? Back to the health of KD.
The Return of the Slim Reaper
Based on reports via The San Francisco Chronicle, Kevin Durant despite ailing from a calf strain will play tonight.
It’s nice to see Kevin Durant back in the lineup, but fans watching the game should take notice of a few things when the Warriors take the floor.
- How much time KD is on the court
- How well he moves around
Having Durant back is great, but if his time on the court is limited due to his injury it might not be enough to get over the hump in Toronto. The injury plague Golden State is fighting has made overcoming the talent level of the Raptors a daunting task. In order to force a game 6 the Warriors are going to need the best version of Durant that they can get.
Many casual fans forget that the Raptors consistently outplay some of the most talented teams in the NBA and the Warriors with Kevin Durant back could be the biggest test the Raptors have seen all year, if Durant is near his usual self. If Durant is not on the court for an extended period of time or if he is unable play up to his potential due to his injury his presence alone will not be enough to singlehandedly turn the tide in this series.
But….if KD is KD
It does not matter where your allegiance lies in this series. If you love watching a pure bucket you want KD to play well, it’s just too much fun to watch. Durant is debatably the best three-level-scorer in NBA history and one of the best defenders in the league. A productive game from Kevin Durant is a necessity to counteract a dominant Raptors frontcourt and push the series back to The Bay.
If Durant is even close to full health the Raptors are not closing out the series tonight.