Golden State left Game 2 with a win and a M.A.S.H. tent. A former MVP was out for the game, the best shooter alive was feeling ill, the second-best shooter alive (maybe) hurt his hamstring, and a former Finals MVP got, in his own words, his head knocked off. Also Kevon Looney left the game with a chest contusion (here’s to Kevon getting a name-replacing accolade soon!). Toronto’s been dealing with its own afflictions (a.k.a. Kawhi Leonard’s limp) for multiple games, but Golden State lived in the locker room Sunday: Other than Draymond, each player from Steve Kerr’s fabled Death Lineup was working through health issues at various points of the game. That doesn’t include DeMarcus Cousins, of course, who was vital in Game 2 in just his second game back from injury.
The downfall to having a roster so hyper-talented—reports of discontent over sharing aside—is that you have to pay for it. The budget to fill out the bench is slim. Lack of depth has been an issue for the Warriors all year; now, it could be the difference between three titles and four.
There is one more full day of rest ahead of Wednesday’s Game 3 matchup. Here’s the complete injury breakdown for Golden State, as of Monday night:
Thompson is questionable for Game 3 after an MRI confirmed a hamstring strain suffered on Sunday. Klay’s status seems completely up in the air, though his coach sounded confident his shooter will return after Game 2.
“Klay could be half-dead and he’d say he’s fine,” Kerr told reporters after the Warriors’ win. Klay had an awkward fall on a 3-point attempt in the fourth quarter which led to a limp, and he exited soon afterwards. He said less than an hour after the initial injury that he’d be ready to go: “No, I don’t see myself missing Game 3.” Sure enough, on Monday morning, he was seen leaving the airport walking normally (and, adorably, taking the time to sign autographs for everyone—good karma!).
The saying goes that Golden State can beat you without one of its stars, but is in trouble when missing two. Without Kevin Durant, the Warriors do not have enough shooting; without Durant and Klay, the Warriors offense has only Steph as a true volume scorer, assuming Cousins can’t yet play a full game (more on him in a minute). But Curry also happens to be injury-prone (and was sick last game). Golden State can lean on Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala to some degree, but not enough to fill in for a combined Klay- and Durant-sized hole. Not to mention the team would need to replace Klay’s defensive influence, which is second only to Green’s.
Looney missed the second half of Game 2 after colliding with Kawhi Leonard late in the first half, and will now miss at least Game 3, if not much more. On Monday, an MRI of what was thought to be a left chest contusion (also, according to other reports, a sprained collarbone; in today’s news, I learned you could sprain a collarbone), was actually a non-displaced first costal cartilage fracture on the right side. The Warriors announced that Looney will be out indefinitely, which likely brings his solid postseason to an end. Instead, Golden State will have to lean on some rotation of DeMarcus Cousins, Andrew Bogut, and Jordan Bell.
After playing the entire first quarter of Game 2, Curry left for the locker room, apparently not feeling well. “Playing” might actually not be the best term: Curry went 0-for-3 from the field during that time. He was there, but he wasn’t really there. “I don’t really know what the cause was, just didn’t feel right,” Curry, who returned with 8:41 left in the second quarter, told reporters after the game.
Kerr’s money was on dehydration, and Doris Burke reported from the sideline that Curry had been given “energy pills.” (I, medical expert, am guessing B12 vitamins or chocolate-covered espresso beans.) Whatever they gave him worked well enough: Curry finished the night with 41 total minutes played (it was the third consecutive game that he’s logged more than 40). He notched 23 points on 6-of-17 shooting, and while that’s not remarkable by any means, he was enough of himself to prompt Toronto to play a box-and-1 defense in the fourth quarter.
Iguodala was hurt twice in three quarters between games 1 and 2. In the last two minutes of the Finals opener, he landed awkwardly on a made floater, grabbed his hamstring, and left the floor for the remaining minute. A leg injury is a major concern for Iguodala, who, in addition to being the oldest Warrior on the roster, depends on speed and verticality for his game, but the MRI on his leg came back clean. Iguodala started Game 2, but like Curry, it took a trip to the locker room to get going. At the 3:35 mark of the second quarter, Iguodala ran backward into a screening Marc Gasol and hit his head. He left the court with zero points, one rebound, three assists, and a turnover, only to return in the second half a hero. Iguodala finished with eight points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal from Kyle Lowry, one block on Pascal Siakam (which came within 70 seconds of the steal), and the game-sealing 3-pointer:
“Got my head knocked off, and it kind of woke me up a bit,” Iguodala said afterwards. “Got a little edge after that.” It was only the second 3 Iguodala had made in his last 15 attempts, which makes me think bumping into Gasol is like getting your tires realigned. Iguodala is active for Game 3, headless or not, but after two scares in two games, there’s the concern whether he, at 35, can withstand much more punishment.
There’s no timeline for Durant’s return, though, like with any injury, it does seem he’s closer to coming back now than he was yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. Thanks, Warriors. Durant strained his calf in Game 5 of the conference semifinals against the Rockets. He’s now missed seven games, and hasn’t been officially cleared to practice.
Kerr said on Sunday that it’s “feasible” Durant will play immediately after he’s been cleared, even if that means participating in only one practice. Still, this is beginning to feel a bit like a game of cat and mouse—like the Warriors just want to keep everyone on their toes by keeping the updates about KD’s status vague and ever-shifting. One day before, on Saturday, Kerr told reporters that it’d be “near-impossible” for Durant to be active the next day (which, clearly, he was not). How much could possibly improve between then and Wednesday—after nearly a month’s absence—for “near-impossible” to turn into “possible”?
Boogie tore his quad in the second game of his first-ever postseason, in the opening round against the Clippers. The Warriors have survived—thrived, even—throughout the playoffs without him, but they’d be down 0-2 to Toronto had he not been there in Game 2. After playing only eight minutes in Game 1 and being expected to be held to 20 minutes in Game 2, Cousins finished with 28 minutes (and 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks). The big man will probably be on a minutes restriction going forward (injuries in back-to-back seasons have clearly delivered a blow to his conditioning, which makes it difficult for him to stay on the court for long stretches). Still, he’s one of the only healthy All-Stars of the bunch.