Charles Barkley was disappointed in the Warriors’ decision to let Kevin Durant play in their 106-105 Game 5 win in the NBA Finals.
Golden State’s star forward went down with an Achilles injury in the second quarter of Monday night’s contest, and Barkley blames the team and media for pushing him toward a premature return from injury. Speaking on ESPN’s “Get Up” Tuesday, Barkley referenced several articles questioning Durant’s dedication to the Warriors, as some expect him to decline his player option this summer and test the free-agency waters. But ultimately it was Golden State’s decision to clear him.
“I blame the Warriors for KD getting hurt and I don’t care what they say about it.”
Charles Barkley brought the heat, saying the Warriors shouldn’t have played Kevin Durant in Game 5 pic.twitter.com/uyTgg2qsCS
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 11, 2019
“I blame the Warriors for KD getting hurt and I don’t care what they say about it,” Barkley said. “They shouldn’t have put that man out there. You know how I know it? Because he blew out his Achilles.”
Durant hadn’t played since Golden State’s Game 5 win over the Rockets in the second round of the playoffs, where he suffered a calf sprain. His Monday appearance marked his first in 32 days. Barkley responded to speculation that the Warriors star might have rushed himself to help his teammates, who were down 3-1 in the championship series.
“I don’t think you can ever leave it up to a player,” Barkley said. “Players always want to play. But I think if you ask any rational player — Damon (Jones), Jalen Rose, Jay Williams — to put a guy who hadn’t played basketball in over a month into Game 5 of the Finals and have some type of move around the day before, I don’t think that’s fair to that man. And you saw the result.”
Durant was productive during his time on the court, though. He scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in just 12 minutes before exiting the game. His Tuesday MRI should reveal the severity of his injury.
“I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame, but I understand this world. If you have to, you can blame me,” Warrirors president of basketball operations Bob Myers told reporters.
Game 6 of the NBA will tip off Thursday at 9 p.m. ET at Oracle Arena.