Warriors’ Kevin Durant says Blazers ‘ain’t trying to go’ to the Finals
The underdog Portland Trail Blazers definitely don’t need any extra motivation to win the Western Conference Finals, and the heavily-favored Golden State Warriors definitely don’t need to hear anything that could spark more frequent bouts of on-court complacency. After the Warriors’ hard-fought Game 2 win over the Blazers on Thursday night, though, an injured Kevin Durant provided a soundbite in the post-game tunnel that could potentially make this series a bit more interesting as it shifts back to Portland.
Gassing up Draymond Green as he greeted players on the way to the Warriors locker room, Durant was caught by cameras telling his teammate that the Blazers “ain’t trying to go” to the NBA Finals.
"Finals? … They ain't trying to go there …"
KD to Draymond in the Warriors tunnel after the game 🤫 pic.twitter.com/kzVUTF0gxH
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 17, 2019
Durant, obviously, was merely acknowledging Portland’s status as a surprise Conference Finals participant while celebrating the victory of his juggernaut team rather than trying to stir the pot. Innocuous fodder like this is said in every locker room after key wins.
But because we’re here, it’s worth mentioning all the adjustments the Blazers made between Games 1 and 2 that proves they’re indeed trying to go to the Finals.
After watching Steph Curry erupt for nine threes largely as a result of his team’s “drop” pick-and-roll coverage on Tuesday, Terry Stotts adjusted by having his big men meet the ball handler at the level of the screen. Portland also switched off-ball when the opportunity presented itself, a major departure its season-long defensive tendencies. Stotts played the seldom-used Meyers Leonard at center down the stretch, and even went small without a true big man on the floor to try and quell Golden State’s game-changing third quarter run.
Some of those changes made a big difference in Game 2. Unfortunately for the Blazers, they still weren’t enough to steal a victory at Oracle Arena.