fb-pixel Skip to main content
NBA FINALS

Down, 1-0, Warriors will be without Kevin Durant for Game 2

Golden State’s Andre Iguodala (right) is expected to play in Game 2 after an MRI on his sore left leg came back clean.Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/Getty Images

TORONTO — Golden State star Kevin Durant is going to miss Game 2 of the NBA Finals, and Andre Iguodala’s health is of at least mild concern to the two-time defending champion Warriors as well.

Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, had an MRI on Friday on his left leg after he was hurt late in the Toronto Raptors’ 118-109 Game 1 win Thursday night. Durant, the finals MVP in 2017 and 2018 who has been dealing with a strained calf, was ruled out by Warriors coach Steve Kerr in an expected move.

‘‘Kevin’s not going to play Sunday,’’ Kerr said. ‘‘I guess we’ve been holding out hope, but might as well say it now. . . . It’s near-impossible for him to play on Sunday.’’

Advertisement



Toronto will host Game 2 on Sunday night. Iguodala expects to play, and the Warriors said his MRI came back clean.

‘‘He seems to be doing well. . . . I talked to him and he said he felt pretty good,’’ Kerr said.

Iguodala scored with just under two minutes left in Game 1, his left leg flaring out a bit as he leaped to take that shot from the middle of the lane. He immediately grabbed the back of the leg in the hamstring area after landing, clapped his hands while grimacing and hobbled down to the other end.

The Warriors subbed him out not long afterward, and he didn’t return.

Iguodala started and played 29 minutes in Game 1, finishing with 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. He was slowed in the Western Conference finals by a problem with his left calf, and he missed the clinching Game 4 of that series.

Kerr said the team isn’t going to rush Durant’s return. The fear is that if he comes back before the calf is sound even the slightest tweak would mean his season is over.

Advertisement



Durant hasn’t played since he was hurt in Game 5 of the West semifinals against Houston.

‘‘The thinking is when he’s ready to play, he’ll play,’’ Kerr said.

Durant traveled with the team to Toronto, wanting to be with his teammates for the start of the finals and needing to work with the Warriors’ medical staff.

‘‘He’s still progressing,’’ Kerr said.

Meanwhile, Kerr and the Warriors are experiencing something new: staring at a 1-0 deficit in the NBA Finals.

They’ve trailed in series before during Kerr’s wildly successful five-year run, faced plenty of adverse moments along the way, but this is the newest challenge for a franchise trying to join the short list of clubs that have won three consecutive championships.

‘‘The experience helps,’’ Kerr said. ‘‘Winning multiple championships helps because you have seen it all. There’s also just the knowledge that you’ve been here before. You’ve been down. We have been up, 3-1, and lost a series. We have been down, 3-1, and won a series. Everything in between. So nothing is going to catch these guys off-guard.’’

There was a clear air of confidence from the Warriors even in the very first moments after the loss Thursday night. They knew they didn’t play particularly well, and lost by only 9. They trailed most of the way, yet still were within striking distance plenty of times. They seemed far from rattled.

‘‘No matter what, our sights were coming in that it’s a long series,’’ Warriors star Stephen Curry said. ‘‘And Game 2 is an opportunity for us to right the wrongs and get a big win and go back home.’’

Advertisement



No one needs to explain to the Warriors that a win on Sunday completely shifts the narrative.

Golden State hadn’t lost a Game 1 this season. Or the season before that. Or the season before that.

The last time the Warriors woke up and were down, 1-0, in a series was the Western Conference finals in 2016 — against Durant and Oklahoma City. The Warriors responded with a blowout win in Game 2 and went on to prevail in seven games.

‘‘You never lose that experience,’’ Warriors forward Draymond Green said. ‘‘You can always look back on it and it’s more about how you felt, what was your mindset then. But it’s impossible to be the same because it’s completely different teams. And although some of us may have that experience, others on our team have not had that experience.’’

It bears noting that the Raptors know a 1-0 series lead doesn’t mean much.

Orlando had one of those against Toronto in the first round, and lost in five games. Milwaukee had one of those against Toronto in the Eastern Conference finals — 2-0, actually — and lost in six games.

‘‘We’ve tried to [have] a conscious thought process of not really caring what the score of the series is,’’ Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. ‘‘I think we know that the games are really hard. We know that after a win, the team that gets beat gets really determined. They try to fix things. They mostly play a lot harder and more physical and all those kind of things.’’

Advertisement