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Thread: Monday's NBA Trends and Indexes - 6/10

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    Default Monday's NBA Trends and Indexes - 6/10

    Trends and Indexes

    Monday, June 10

    Good Luck on day # 161 of 2019!

    NOTE: As information becomes available, we will attempt to post the trends and indexes as soon as possible.Information is posted from what we believe are reliable sources.Any opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the posting member or BettorsChat.

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    Armadillo: Monday's six-pack

    — Prayers to David Ortiz, who was wounded in a shooting in the Dominican Republic Sunday.

    — Happy 80th birthday to Dick Vitale, who has more energy than most people half his age.

    — Bruins 5, Blues 1— Winner-take-all Game 7 is Wednesday in Boston.

    — Mariners 9, Angels 3— Edwin Encarnacion hit his 400th home run.

    — Nationals 5, Padres 2— San Diego is 8-12 in its last 20 games.

    — If the baseball playoffs started today:
    NL: Phils-Cubs-Dodgers. Wild Card: Braves @ Brewers
    AL: Bronx-Twins-Astros. Wild Card: Rangers @ Rays


    **********

    Armadillo: Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend…….

    13) Big question for NBA commish Adam Silver this summer: Could Kawhi Leonard’s success this postseason lead to more regular season resting for NBA stars?

    People pay a lot of money to go to games and obviously, they want to see the stars play; Leonard sat out 22 games this season. Same goes for TV ratings; people like to watch great players play.

    12) Michigan G Charles Matthews tore his ACL as he prepared for the NBA Draft, is now out until at least January, and thats the risk of bolting school early. He still intends to leave Michigan; his agent still thinks he’ll be taken in the second round of the draft. We’ll see about that; the agent doesn’t get paid if Matthews goes back to Michigan.

    11) Nationals 5, Padres 1— Game was tied in 8th inning, then Kendrick, Turner, Eaton, Rendon hit four consecutive bombs off of reliever Craig Stammen to settle things.

    10) El Paso Chihuahuas’ pitcher Kyle McGrath threw seven perfect innings Sunday before giving up a hit in the 8th inning; it was only his 4th professional start, in his 184th minor league game. El Paso is the AAA farm club of the San Diego Padres.

    9) Brewers 5, Pirates 2— Closer Josh Hader pitched on back/back days for only third time this year; by way of comparison, San Diego’s Kirby Yates has pitched on back/back days seven times this season.

    8) Twins 13, Tigers 2— Jake Odorizzi (9-2) is the first Twins’ pitcher to win nine straight decisions since Johan Santana during his 2006 Cy Young season.

    7) Baseball stuff:
    — Mets put 2B Robinson Cano back on the IL.
    — White Sox put P Dylan Covey (shoulder) on the IL.
    — Bronx put P Domingo German (hip flexor) on 10-Day IL.

    6) Rockies-Mets pitching matchup Sunday was Hoffman-Syndergaard, both of whom were 1st round draft picks of the Toronto Blue Jays, Hoffman in ’14, Syndergaard in ’10.

    5) Bronx OF Brett Gardner threw a batting helmet in the dugout the other night; it bounced back, hit him in the lip and cut him— he needed six stitches.

    4) Kevin Durant practiced with the Warriors Sunday, who haven’t announced yet if he will play Monday night in Toronto- they officially listed him as questionable.

    3) Rory McIlroy shot a 61 Sunday and won the Canadian Open by seven shots.

    McIlroy is the last golfer to win a major the week after he won another tournament; he won the Bridgestone and then the PGA in 2014.

    2) Graeme McDowell drained a 30-foot putt on the last hole Sunday to qualify for the British Open, which is being played in McDowell’s hometown this summer.

    1) University of Alabama is returning a $21.5M gift from its largest donor and taking his name off the law school after he called for Alabama to be boycotted over the state’s new abortion law.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 06-10-2019 at 11:03 AM.

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    Commercial Photography
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 06-10-2019 at 11:03 AM.

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    NBA
    Dunkel

    Monday, June 10


    Golden State @ Toronto

    Game 529-530
    June 10, 2019 @

    Dunkel Rating:
    Golden State
    126.467
    Toronto
    132.621
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Toronto
    by 6
    219
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Toronto
    by 3
    212
    Dunkel Pick:
    Toronto
    (-3); Over





    NBA
    Long Sheet

    Monday, June 10


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    GOLDEN STATE (70 - 32) at TORONTO (73 - 31) - 6/10/2019, 9:00 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    GOLDEN STATE is 43-57 ATS (-19.7 Units) in all games this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 53-70 ATS (-24.0 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
    GOLDEN STATE is 35-52 ATS (-22.2 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 20-31 ATS (-14.1 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game - 2nd half of the season this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 36-46 ATS (-14.6 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game this season.
    TORONTO is 218-270 ATS (-79.0 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season since 1996.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    TORONTO is 6-3 against the spread versus GOLDEN STATE over the last 3 seasons
    TORONTO is 5-5 straight up against GOLDEN STATE over the last 3 seasons
    6 of 9 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

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    NBA
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Monday, June 10


    Golden State’s three starters other than Curry/Thompson shot combined 7-18 from floor last game; with Durant likely out here, Warriors need more than that, or else. Raptors can win their first NBA title with a home win here; Ibaka scored 20 off bench in Game 4 win, when Toronto outscored Warriors 63-46 in second half to assume a 3-1 series lead. Raptors are 5-1 vs Golden State this year, going 3-0 in Oakland; Raptors covered six of last eight series games. Durant practiced Sunday, isn’t expected to be much help, if any, here. VanVleet chipped a tooth and got 7 stitches after Game 4. Over is 7-3 in last ten series games.




    NBA

    Monday, June 10


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Golden State Warriors
    Golden State is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games
    Golden State is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games
    Golden State is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of Golden State's last 8 games on the road
    Golden State is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Toronto
    Golden State is 17-7 SU in its last 24 games when playing Toronto
    Golden State is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Toronto
    The total has gone OVER in 8 of Golden State's last 12 games when playing Toronto
    Golden State is 2-3-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Toronto
    Golden State is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Toronto
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Golden State's last 6 games when playing on the road against Toronto
    Toronto Raptors
    Toronto is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games
    Toronto is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
    Toronto is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
    Toronto is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
    Toronto is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Golden State
    Toronto is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Golden State
    Toronto is 7-17 SU in its last 24 games when playing Golden State
    The total has gone OVER in 8 of Toronto's last 12 games when playing Golden State
    Toronto is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Golden State
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Toronto's last 6 games when playing at home against Golden State


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 06-10-2019 at 11:04 AM.

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    Finals Game 5 - Warriors at Raptors
    Tony Mejia

    NBA Finals – Game 5

    Golden State at Toronto (-1.5/214.5), ABC, 9:07 p.m. ET


    Dec. 12 – Raptors (-2) 118 vs. Warriors 109 (Over 212.5)
    Nov. 29 – Warriors (+2) 109 at Raptors 104 (Under 213.5)
    Nov. 29 – Raptors (+3) 123 at Warriors 109 (Over 210.5)
    Nov. 29 – Raptors (+5) 105 at Warriors 92 (Under 215)

    Kevin Durant practiced with his Golden State teammates on Sunday. Reporters who saw him exit Scotiabank Arena didn’t see him limping as he exited the premises. Although listed as ‘questionable,’ if would be stunning if the reigning two-time Finals MVP didn’t wear a Warriors uniform at least one last time in order to try and prevent his team from coming up short of their season-long goal of a threepeat.

    The foolish ones among you who thought the Warriors were a better team without him have now been quieted. Golden State is down 3-1 in the NBA Finals, having dropped both home games of its fifth straight championship series despite being favored with Durant ruled out. Toronto won each of the contests in Oakland convincingly and now stands one win away from its first title since entering the league in 1995.

    Durant may as well throw on a cape in addition to his Nikes and uniform tonight. He’ll be asked to play savior even if he ends up being more decoy than focal point as the Warriors look to become the second team in league history to battle back from a 3-1 deficit and win a ring.

    Ironically, Golden State was the lone victim, losing to Cleveland back in 2016 in order to help facilitate Durant’s defection from Oklahoma City, a move still skewered by many as one that helped ruin the competitive balance in the NBA. The Warriors haven’t finished with the league’s top record, but did take down LeBron James’ Cavaliers in both Finals, doing so rather easily in order to exact revenge. They had one brush with their mortality in last year’s Western Conference finals, but took advantage of Chris Paul’s absence due to an injured hamstring in order to win consecutive games and erase a 3-2 deficit against Houston.

    Entering last year’s Game 6, the series price on the Warriors against the Rockets saw them as a -130 favorite at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Even down, they were expected to win due to Paul’s demise. Prior to Game 4 on Saturday night, Golden State was demoted to even money to win the title and the Raptors became the first team other than the defending champs to be made the favorite to win the title (-120). As things stand now, you can get a return of +400 or a little higher throughout the strip and offshore if you invest in the Warriors making history. Toronto is currently in the -500/-550 range to win one more time and crown itself a winner.

    Kawhi Leonard is looking like a shoo-in for Finals MVP so long as the Raptors hold on, averaging 30.8 points and 10.3 rebounds in leading the way for a Raptors squad that has seen veterans Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Danny Green and Serge Ibaka excel. Pascal Siakam was the hero of Game 1 and has changed games with his length and energy on defense in addition to his ability to create shots when Leonard is being doubled. Fred VanVleet has been the ultimate x-factor, playing tremendous defense on Stephen Curry while burying buckets from beyond the arc, helping stretch the floor by being a threat to shoot it whenever the ball comes his way.

    Toronto head coach Nick Nurse, a veteran tactician sitting in the head seat in the NBA for the first time, has proven every bit the worthy opponent for Steve Kerr, excelling through both his game planning and lineup adjustments. He’s certainly had fewer injury concerns to deal with, but has to be given credit for pressing the right buttons and not dragging his team down with bad decisions due to a lack of experience. If anything, he’s been an asset. Starting VanVleet over Danny Green at the start of the second half in Oakland helped contribute to a pair of wins since it allowed him to effectively play box-and-one, taking advantage of the lack of scoring punch out there for the Warriors.

    Klay Thompson returned from a Game 3 absence due to a hamstring injury and shot the ball well, finishing with a team-high 28 points, but he couldn’t prevent Golden State from its lowest-scoring output of the postseason in a 105-92 Saturday night loss. It hadn’t been held under the century mark since a March 23 home loss to Dallas and was outscored 37-21 coming out of the break. After turning around Game 2 with an 18-0 run to open the third quarter, it was a startling contrast to see the Warriors squander a four-point halftime edge by being thoroughly dominated in what’s supposed to be their quarter to gain separation in.

    NBA expert Kevin Rogers says that Golden State can’t count on experience to bail them out of this hole since it isn’t accustomed to having to dig out of those due to its dominance throughout its run.

    The Warriors are in very unfamiliar territory by sitting one game away from elimination in the Steve Kerr era. Discounting the Game 7’s against Cleveland in the 2016 NBA Finals and against Houston in the 2018 Western Finals in which both teams were facing elimination, Golden State has been on the verge of getting knocked out twice in the last five postseasons,” Rogers said. “Both times came in the conference finals with the Warriors blasting the Rockets at home last season and stunning Oklahoma City in 2016. The victory over the Thunder was the only road win in this stretch when staring elimination in the face as the Warriors outscored OKC, 33-18 in the fourth quarter to force a Game 7 back at home, which they eventually won.”

    Durant was on the losing side of that collapse with the Thunder but has since emerged as arguably the NBA’s top player. Leonard got healthy this season and has come for the throne vacated by LeBron James, but Durant’s back-to-back Finals MVP awards and his body of work before being injured in the third quarter of Game 5 of May’s conference semifinals against the Rockets had him on the top perch. It now remains to be seen exactly what he can bring to the table.

    Siakam and Leonard will likely draw the majority of assignments against him, which means he’ll be thrown back in the mix against a pair of agile, willing defenders who won’t make it easy for him to find a rhythm. His presence alone should be able to get Curry and Thompson cleaner looks and give Draymond Green another option to work with to facilitate offense through, but the rust factor and his likely lack of stamina are challenges that must be dealt with. He’s one of the most special players ever, but it’s hard to imagine Durant will be able to pick right up where he left off, which means his likely return will see him offer up whatever he can for as long as he can, even if it’s as a decoy to get teammates more room to work with.

    Kerr has the unenviable task of working with three frontcourt players who wouldn’t be playing if this were still the regular season and now has no room for error. DeMarcus Cousins’ unexpected brilliance in Game 2 helped contribute to Golden State’s lone series win, but he’s been a liability since, picked on defensively and blitzed often on the offensive end, leading to countless turnovers. Kevon Looney is playing through a collarbone fracture that was expected to sideline him the rest of the way, but he returned to lend a hand on Friday night and finished with 10 points and six boards in 20 minutes. Andre Iguodala is currently being held together by Elmer’s glue and paper clips, but played 38 minutes in the Game 4 loss, so Durant returning should lighten his load.

    Oddsmakers reacted to Durant’s likely return by downgrading the Raptors from three-point home favorites to laying just 1.5 points entering game-day betting. Considering how little Shaun Livingston and Alfonzo McKinnie gave the Warriors in trying to help fill Durant’s shoes of late, it’s hard to argue that they won’t be better here. What remains to be seen is whether there’s enough chemistry, on the road no less, to overcome weeks of inactivity. With another key figure who is operating at less than a 100 percent giving it a go, Golden State is all-in with a weak hand entering the flop. The Warriors will need for it to be friendly and then will likely need to go runner-runner on the turn and river in order to win three straight and not see their dynasty die off with a defeat that would then be scrutinized to no end entering free agency.

    In attempting to win it all in its first Finals appearance, Toronto will need to show off its killer instinct. It must take advantage of Durant getting back in the flow early to keep the visiting Warriors from gaining confidence and getting juiced up. The Raptors must ride their raucous crowd to make communication difficult for a team that won’t be able to rely on carrying a positive rhythm into a road atmosphere simply because they haven’t all played together in over a month.

    “Since suffering through an 0-4 ATS run in the final two games of the Philadelphia series and the first two contests against Milwaukee, the Raptors have rolled off a 7-1 SU/ATS mark over their last eight,” Rogers said. “Toronto has wrapped up each of its previous three series at Scotiabank Arena, while holding its three opponents to 96, 90, and 94 points.”

    The Warriors haven’t been held under 100 points in consecutive games since Nov. 18-21, having suffered blowout losses against the Spurs and Thunder. They’ll need Curry to bounce back from a Game 4 disappearing act in which he followed up a 47-point effort by finishing just 2-for-9 from 3-point range, shooting 9-for-22 from the field. An extra day of treatment should serve guys like Thompson, Iguodala and Cousins well. Green has averaged nearly 41 minutes per game in the series and is contributing 13.5 points, 9 rebounds and 8.8 assists but must be better and more efficient, so having one more rest day should prove invaluable for him too.

    From this point forward, the NBA Finals will be played with two days of rest in between every remaining game. That’s to Golden State’s advantage, but it must get the series back to Oakland for a Game 6, which would then place pressure on them to avoid being eliminated in the final contest ever played at Oracle Arena. As things stand now, Friday night’s loss would be the last result there. The Warriors have put themselves in position where they can add to their legacy by doing something special or leave themselves open to criticism for the rest of time, especially with the group likely to disband in some capacity.

    Oddsmakers sent out an opening total of 212 for Game 5 but the number was nudged up to 214 at most betting shops after the status of Durant was upgraded to ‘questionable’ on Sunday afternoon.

    “You can handicap this total a variety of ways but the possible addition of KD back in the lineup for Golden State has to be the starting point for Monday,” said NBA totals expert Chris David.

    “Durant hasn’t played in over a month and if he’s practicing, then you have to believe he’s going to give it a go on Monday. In five road games through the first two rounds of the playoffs, Durant averaged 40.2 PPG against the Clippers and Rockets. Golden State did lose two of those five games, both at Houston, while the ‘over’ went 4-1,” David said. “However, the Warriors averaged 122.4 PPG and even if Durant gives you less than half or a third of his average, that’s a big boost to a Golden State offense that’s been running on empty in this series. If KD plays and gets close to 30 minutes, I see no reason why the Warriors wouldn’t eclipse their Team Total of 105 ½.”

    The total results for this series sit at 2-2 and the ‘under’ (215) in Game 4 last Friday was never in doubt with Golden State held to its playoff low. David touched on Golden State’s ability to rebound after poor shooting nights.

    “Including Friday’s production, the Warriors have been held under 100 points nine times this season. In the following contests, Golden State has gone 6-2 and the offense has averaged 118.1 PPG,” said David. “Sticking with trends, we’ve only seen the Warriors drop three straight games once this season and that occurred in the second month of the season when they lost four consecutive contests. The offense averaged 95.5 PPG during that losing skid.”

    The Warriors must also overcome the excitement currently permeating throughout Toronto, which is on the cusp of its first championship in one of North America’s major leagues since MLB’s Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993. Jurassic Park, the area outside the arena, is going to be overflowing with fans looking to celebrate, while the atmosphere inside the arena promises to be intense. Golden State would love nothing more than to shut superfan Drake up again like they managed to on June 2, but the Raptors are 9-3 on their home floor in these playoffs, eliminating all three of their Eastern Conference conquests in the building to advance to this point. Their regular-season home record was tied for third-best in the NBA (32-9).

    “In 12 playoff games at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto has held seven opponents under 100 points, which is an incredible feat in the offensive age of the NBA. If you’re leaning to the Raptors to close the series out on Monday, it’s hard not to lean to the ‘under’ in the game especially if you look at the production from the Warriors in finals losses. Going back to the 2015 installment, Golden State been held to 98.7 PPG in 10 setbacks of the NBA Finals,” David said. “As good as Golden State has been over the last five postseasons, sometimes the matchup doesn’t suit you and credit has to be given to the other squad. That’s certainly been the case against Toronto and when you factor in the injuries, the flaws and depth issues for the Warriors have become more exposed. Despite only having one superstar, the Raptors team defense has been a nightmare for everybody in the postseason.”

    If the Warriors are able to pull out a Game 5 upset, they would try to stave off elimination again on Thursday night. A potential Game 7 would take place on Sunday, making for an interesting Father’s Day.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 06-10-2019 at 11:05 AM.

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    Durant's return looms large heading into potential clincher
    Shaun Powell

    * Tonight on ABC: Game 5, Warriors vs. Raptors (9 ET)

    TORONTO -- Let us dismiss the tasty-yet-faulty comparison folks will try to make regarding Game 5 and Kevin Durant and the fate of the Golden State Warriors in these NBA Finals:

    In 1970, New York Knicks center Willis Reed famously limped out of the tunnel at Madison Square Garden for Game 7 of The Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. He only hit two jumpers and was done, too gimpy to go any further. The Warriors, starved for points against a toothy Toronto Raptors defense, will require plenty more than that from Durant before he’s done.

    Back then, it was winner-take-all, New York vs. L.A. Durant and the Warriors are trailing 3-1 and face elimination at Scotiabank Arena. They’re staring down a far deeper and darker tunnel.

    This is the stark reality for a would-be savior and his recuperating calf and the desperate two-time defending champions. Durant was upgraded to questionable for Monday, which means it's likely he’ll at least be on the floor. Whether he stays long enough to break a sweat or plays well enough to make the Raptors perspire is the real issue.

    Perhaps never before has an injury to a superstar of this magnitude been this mysterious -- and perhaps costly -- in the history of The Finals. Remember, with Reed, the Knicks won the series. Maybe there's more in common with Magic Johnson pulling a hamstring in 1989 during Game 1. In that instance, Magic was finished for the series and so were the Lakers (as they were swept by the Detroit Pistons).

    Durant is trying to return and in the process squelch the innuendo swirling about his recovery and also trigger a historic comeback. Can he pull this off after not playing since May 8, and practicing for the first time only Sunday?

    It was a practice, but only in the tamest sense. Durant joined his teammates and took part after the media was hustled off the court, leaving no outside witnesses or sneaky TMZ footage. The Warriors, this time of year, only conduct light drills. And it was over within an hour.

    To recap: Durant is supposed to step into an intense basketball game after missing a month, and battle a Toronto defense led by Kawhi Leonard, and thwart a championship bid by a team and city bracing for a maddening celebration around midnight, and … rescue the Warriors? OK, then.

    “I think it’s pretty easy to realize we obviously miss him out there and he’s propelled us to two championships in two years,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “So it would be pretty storybook if he could come back and help us do the same.”

    If it sounds like the Warriors are so stretched for answers and solutions that they’re banking on Durant being close to normal after a lengthy layoff, well … maybe they are. When you’re facing elimination, there’s really no other choice. And the Warriors haven’t been able to solve the Raptors without him.

    Yet Durant has set himself a high bar. Before his injury, which occurred in the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets, he was on a nearly galactic level. He averaged 34 points, five rebounds and five assists in 11 games and was a finalist for everyone’s “best player in the playoffs" honors with the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since then Leonard, the postseason leader in points, and rebounds, and minutes, has yanked that praise for himself. The Raptors, as a result, are heavy favorites to lift the trophy.

    Durant may not be fully healthy, leaving what he can possibly do an open question: Will he be more of a decoy than a legitimate offensive threat? And on defense, how can the Warriors cover for him, since the Raptors will surely try to exploit the situation by running Durant through screens?

    Without Durant, the scoring burden had to be carried by Thompson and Stephen Curry. While both have handled that fairly well, the Warriors have had little margin for error. Whenever Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala or DeMarcus Cousins failed to lend support for Thompson and Curry, the results have been disastrous.

    Coach Steve Kerr feels Durant’s presence will be enough to cause a ripple effect that influences what both teams do when he’s on the floor.

    “The game plan changes if Kevin is out there, or if he’s not,” Kerr said. “So you adapt accordingly. It changes matchups, it changes rotations, all that stuff.”

    It’ll be a surprise if Durant’s return causes issues within the Warriors and the system that was tweaked in his absence. Although they’ve been without him for nine games, he did play three seasons with them, which means there shouldn’t be any adjustment problems. Quite the contrary, says Curry.

    “We’ll be able to adjust in transition pretty smoothly,” he said. “He’s been in plenty of Finals and has played well. No matter what the percentage he’s at, I’m sure he’ll be impactful and effective.”

    It’s always tricky to play doctor and determine how much time Durant should’ve missed, although that never deters anyone from doing so. Taking it a step further, while none of his teammates or coaches publicly questioned the depths of Durant’s injury, dealing with the daily dose of “is he or isn’t he?” became tiring to some.

    They all suspect that if Durant could’ve played, he would. What possible motive would encourage him to stay out longer than necessary? To show everyone how much the Warriors need him? That seems a stretch for someone who craves a championship. Possibly not his pending free agency either; if anything Durant would get bonus points for playing through pain and would have all summer to recover in the event of re-injuring the calf, which is not considered career-threatening.

    Injured players have no obligation to speak to the media, and Durant hasn’t, with his silence only feeding speculation.

    “I feel for Kevin,” Thompson said. “I know what type of competitor he is and we obviously miss him dearly. But whether it’s tomorrow or Game 6, we just have to do everything in our power to help him get back. He will be very welcome, I’ll say that much. Kevin’s (injury) is serious and I know how badly he wants to be out there. He’s one of the best competitors I’ve been around.”

    The stretchy shooting range, the high release of a shot that’s nearly impossible to block or discourage, the energy and determination and ability to make plays in tense moments -- those are the elements Durant brings and the Warriors have missed in The Finals. They’ll take whatever he can give, whatever that might be.

    “I would like to think he would make a difference,” Warriors reserve Shaun Livingston said. “Again, it’s just any time a player of that caliber comes back or goes out of the lineup, it’s going to be felt certain ways. We’ll see what happens.”

    And if Durant is unable to play extended minutes or sputters around the floor, making mistakes and dogged by rust and fatigue and inefficiency? Then it’ll fall on his teammates, a group that couldn’t beat the Raptors in two games at Oracle Arena yet somehow must thrive in a Canadian madhouse that awaits Monday.

    “You’re going to see a resilient Warriors team,” Thompson said. “We’ve had our backs against the wall with this same group. Obviously, it’s a little more daunting being down 3-1 but usually when our backs are against the wall, we respond the best.”

    Question is, will Durant have their back? Or will he and that wall crumble under pressure from these hungry Raptors and the long odds?
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 06-10-2019 at 11:07 AM.

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