OAKLAND — The status of Warriors stars DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant for Game 1 of the NBA Finals has become clearer.
On Monday, head coach Steve Kerr said that Cousins has been listed as questionable while Durant has officially been ruled out for Game 1, which is set to be played in Toronto on Thursday.
“We’ll see where it all goes from here,” Kerr said. “This is where the fact that there’s a lot of days in between games during the Finals really helps us, so we’ll see.”
Last week, Kerr revealed that Durant, who suffered a “mild calf strain” in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets, had not seen any on-court time since limping off of the Oracle Arena floor. This, however, has since changed. Kerr says Durant has progressed to shooting in individual sessions over the last few days.
“I know he’s been out kind of shooting some shots,” Kerr said.
Averaging 34.2 points per game this postseason, Durant was in a comfortable groove, looking to lead the Warriors to their fifth-consecutive Finals bid.
After missing the entirety of the Western Conference Finals, Durant will now miss Game 1 of the Finals, if not more, as the Warriors are not sure if he will travel with them to the Toronto where the first two games of the series are set to be played.
Over the last week, Cousins has been back on the floor for as a full participant in practice and has been scrimmaging with the team in order to gain his conditioning back.
“DeMarcus is making good progress but the timing of this thing is so tricky,” Kerr said. “He misses two months and it always takes big guys longer to find their rhythm. The speed of the game is so fast. If this were the regular season then this would be simple.”
Had Cousins’ injury taken place in the regular season, Kerr says that throwing Cousins into the starting lineup right to find his footing would be the answer, just like he did for his Warriors debut back in January.
Considering this stage of the playoffs, however, and what is at stake with each and every game played this time of the year, throwing Cousins to the wolves is a risky and foolish move for Golden State.
“I feel bad for him,” Kerr said. “This is one of the reasons why he came to this team was to play in the playoffs and hopefully go to the Finals. And here we are and he’s just coming back with Game 1 just a few days away. It’s not an easy position to be in.”