Draymond Green wants to shut down discussion that the Warriors are playing better without injured Kevin Durant.
Durant has missed Golden State’s past three games with a strained right calf he sustained during Golden State’s Game 5 win over the Rockets last week. He won’t travel with the team for Games 3 and 4 of the conference finals in Portland, though he has “shown good progress” since beginning his rehab program.
Durant’s absence has led some to question whether the Warriors, who have won their past four games, are better without Durant on the court. Green, however, called those claims “very idiotic” as he hopes to change the narrative around his teammate.
“That’s idiotic,” Green said while shaking his head (via The Athletic). “It’s very idiotic. I don’t think there’s one person in this locker room, one person in this organization that thinks that. And I know for damn sure that any idiot that does possibly (say) it don’t believe it.”
Kevin Durant to Draymond Green after the Warriors game 2 win: “Finals? … They don’t wanna go there …” pic.twitter.com/VVL4j6KpfR
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 17, 2019
Green continued to defend Durant by pointing to how much of an impact the 10-time All-Star makes when he’s healthy and on the court.
“When you have Kevin, he covers up so many things on both sides of the ball,” Green added. “‘Oh sh—, we haven’t scored in four possessions in a row?’ Get the ball to Kevin, get out of the way. On the defensive side, you mess up a pick-and-roll coverage, he’s right there to cover it up. He covers up so much for us.
“We don’t necessarily have to be perfect (when Durant’s out). But we’ve gotta be damn close to it.”
Andre Iguodala agreed with Green, saying: “We’ve gotta play really well, damn near perfect” without Durant.
Before Durant’s injury, he averaged 34.2 points while shooting 51.3% from the floor and 41.6 from 3-point range through 11 games this postseason.
The Warriors, up 2-0 in the series, will continue to play without Durant as they face the Trail Blazers in Game 3 of the conference finals Saturday with tipoff set for 9 p.m. ET (ESPN).