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Golden State blow as Durant ruled out of NBA Finals Game 4 tonight

Warriors coach Steve Kerr hopes to have Durant back before the end of the series.

Durant: Warriors are 6-2 without him in the playoffs.
Durant: Warriors are 6-2 without him in the playoffs.
Image: Nathan Denette

GOLDEN STATE STAR forward Kevin Durant will miss game four of the NBA Finals tonight with a calf injury, coach Steve Kerr confirmed, but guard Klay Thompson will return for the Warriors.

Both players were absent in Wednesday’s 123-109 loss to Toronto, which gave the Raptors a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven championship series.

“My body feels really good and that extra night of rest really helped,” Thompson said. “I just can’t wait.”

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant, the team’s leading playoff scorer with 32.5 points a game, did not have a setback, Kerr said, but trainers will not clear him for scrimmage work before Friday or Saturday.

“I was hoping today would be the day when he could get out on the floor,” Kerr said. “It’s going to be probably the next couple of days. That’s the next step.

“So the hope would be that he could still make it back at the end of the series.”

Durant has missed a month with the injury, the Warriors going 6-2 without him in the playoffs.

“He will continue to get treatment and get on the court and continue to work,” Kerr said. “It’s just about when the training staff tells me he’s ready.”

The Warriors, whose latest loss came despite a career playoff high 47 points from Steph Curry, will welcome back five-time All-Star guard Thompson, who sat out Wednesday with a strained left hamstring, ending a career run of 120 consecutive playoff games without a miss.

“The risk was too great and being down 2-1 is not the end of the world,” Thompson said. “We’ve been in this position before so we can rely on our experience and we’re getting guys back.

“It just sucks missing a finals game. This is what we work our whole lives for. But I would rather miss one game than an entire series.”

Durant’s absence hits the team on defensive schemes as well as in scoring.

“He’s an All-World athlete who makes your team better, so it’s a tough blow,” Curry said. “But we still have a great opportunity in front of us and we’re going to lay it all out there on the line to try to get it done.”

Thompson sees the series balanced on a knife’s edge without a healthy Durant.

“It would suck if Kevin can’t come back,” Thompson said. “I still think we would have a good chance to win the finals, but obviously that takes a huge hit. I don’t think it would make us the clear-cut favorite anymore without him.”

Even a sub-par Durant would force Toronto to widen its defensive coverage, Warriors forward Draymond Green said.

“He’ll come back and draw a lot of attention, so it’ll open the floor up more,” Green said. “He’s way better than a lot of people when he’s 100% so if he’s 75%, he’ll still probably be better than a lot of people.”

© AFP 2019.

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