It's downtime but Warriors aim to turn it on for Finals

Kevin Durant is working to shake off a calf injury ahead of Golden State's assault on a fourth NBA title in five seasons. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Kevin Durant is working to shake off a calf injury ahead of Golden State's assault on a fourth NBA title in five seasons. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Pausing to reflect on their fifth consecutive National Basketball Association Finals appearance should be an easy task for the Golden State Warriors.

After they put away the Portland Trail Blazers in a 4-0 sweep of the Western Conference Finals on Monday, Steve Kerr's men kicked off an extended idle hour.

With the Eastern Conference Finals scheduled till next Monday, Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be held next Thursday at either Milwaukee or Toronto.

The Bucks lost to the Raptors on Tuesday and head back to Milwaukee with the series tied 2-2.

"Get outside," Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson said of his plans for the hiatus.

"Hopefully it's good weather in the Bay finally. Just enjoy - just enjoy the downtime, because the NBA Finals, having experience with it, it's such an emotional roller coaster.

"It's nice to get away from the game a little bit before it starts because emotions run high, and it takes a lot out of you."

The Warriors, chasing a fourth Larry O'Brien Trophy in five tries, are optimistic they will get enough time for rest, relaxation and returns - of forward Kevin Durant and centre DeMarcus Cousins.

Durant missed the past five games with a calf strain but could resume on-court activities at the end of the week. Cousins has not played since the opening series of the play-offs because of a quadriceps injury.

Andre Iguodala did not play in Game 4 against Portland, but is a "sure thing" for the Finals.

"You know, when you're missing Kevin Durant, you can't replace Kevin with one guy. We had to replace him with three or four, night after night," coach Kerr said.

"But I just can't say enough about the competitive desire about the group of players that we have here. You know, playing together regardless of injury. Our guys stepped up in a big way."

Stephen Curry has scored 30-plus points in five consecutive games, an epic run that piggybacks similar output by Durant for the first two rounds of the play-offs.

"There's a different intensity in the play-offs just naturally because it's win-or-go home. We know how to find that next gear, and it comes with the experiences that we've been through," he said.

Draymond Green said he will skip the retrospective angle and focus on getting another ring. He implored his team to be ready to toggle out of their celebratory status and back to championship focus.

"We know we still have more work to do. The goal is never to get to the Finals; the goal is to go win the Finals," he said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'It's downtime but Warriors aim to turn it on for Finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe