The Golden State Warriors are rolling over the Portland Trail Blazers. Their leading scorer, Kevin Durant, might as well grab a cold beverage, kick back and rest his injured calf while watching the series from the sidelines.
If Wednesday night’s performance was any indication, they may not need him for the rest of the playoff series.
Durant was held out from Game 2 after tweaking his calf in Game 1 on Sunday. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was wise to err on the side of caution and rest his star. A minor situation would have quickly turned serious if Durant played and did any further damage to the injury. As Kerr put it at a pre-game press conference, it’s a big difference between losing him for a game or two compared to losing him for several weeks.
“No, he won’t play,” said Kerr. “It’s not worth it. It’s twinged. You throw him out there and he pulls it and he’s out for a few weeks and you feel like an idiot. So we’re going to err on the side of caution and sit him out, and hopefully another few days of rest, we’ll get him right.”
The Warriors should have plenty of time to get Durant healthy after Wednesday night’s blowout. Without Durant on the floor, they held Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to just 23 combined points. The final score was 110-81 as they extended their lead in the series to 2-0.
Not having Durant in the lineup is nothing new to a Warriors team that went 16-4 without him in the final stretch of the regular season. That doesn’t mean they won’t need him later in the playoffs when they potentially meet up with teams like the San Antonio Spurs or Cleveland Cavaliers. Durant might mean the difference between an NBA championship and going home empty-handed for a second consecutive year.
Kerr should continue to rest him unless he’s 100 percent ready to play or if the Warriors lose Game 3. If they lose on Saturday, they don’t want to risk the swing of momentum if the Trail Blazers happen to win Game 4 as well.
But until that happens, Durant would do well to focus on his treatment and continue watching from the sidelines.