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Kevin Durant’s halftime advice was key in Golden State comeback vs. Blazers

Warriors, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant might be absent from the court during the last three games after suffering a strained calf injury in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, yet the Golden State Warriors leading scorer is still present in mind.

According to Draymond Green, it was Durant’s outside perception that ultimately pepped-talked the Warriors into coming back from a 15-point deficit in Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers, unlocking the secret to their defense.

“To have K right there at the locker room waiting on us when we’re down 15 … it’s easy to drop your head,” Green said, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “Meanwhile, he’s standing there, dapping everybody up.

“Then he comes to me before the half and he was actually very key in what he said. He said, ‘Hey, make sure you get the guards into the ball. Because they’re getting away from the trap because we’re not into the ball. So now it’s 1-on-1 with the big guy. Get into the ball and now the trap is going to be more productive for us.’

“And sure enough, we got into the ball and the trap was better.”

The Warriors had let Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum see their shot fall through the first half, but later they pressed them early and more effectively, as defense led to offense in way of a 13-0 run to put the Warriors within three points of the Blazers.

Both teams ultimately went into the fourth quarter tied at 89, which set up Golden State to come back from an eight-point deficit late in regulation and close the game with a 13-4 run.

Durant might not be there with his weak-side help or his countless buckets, but his value as a basketball mind is still very much present for this championship-laden team.