SportsPulse: Trysta Krick tries to make sense of what we saw over the course of six games between the Raptors and Warriors and how it will have an echoing affect going forward. USA TODAY
The Golden State Warriors’ quest for a third consecutive title hit a massive bump when Kevin Durant suffered a torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday.
Three days later, in a must-win Game 6 during the final night at Oracle Arena, Klay Thompson went down with a torn ACL in the third quarter.
And just like that, the Warriors’ embarrassment of riches was gone — as was their chance to continue the dynasty for another year. They lost to the Toronto Raptors, 114-110, and now face an uncertain future.
While the Warriors gave the Raptors credit and didn’t use the injuries as an excuse, they were still taken aback by the series of unfortunate events.
“More than the what ifs is just feeling bad for the players involved,” coach Steve Kerr, speaking before Thompson’s diagnosis was made public, said after the season-ending loss. “Injuries are always part of the NBA season — any professional sport, injuries play a huge role. It’s just the nature of these injuries, the severity of these injuries.
“And we’ll know more about Klay. But we can sit here and say, ‘Well, if this hadn’t happened or that hadn’t happened,’ that doesn’t matter. What matters is Kevin Durant is going to miss next season with an Achilles tear and Klay suffered a knee injury. And we’ll know, as I said, we’ll know more before too long. But it’s just brutal. It’s just brutal of what these guys have had to deal with.
” … It’s amazement that we’re sitting in this position with, during the game we have a chance to win the game and force a Game 7 and go back to Toronto, and you just think, how? How has this group of guys put themselves in position to do it? And then as I said, when Klay goes down and is out for the game, it’s just sort of a — you’ve got to be kidding me, like this has to stop. But it’s just the way it’s gone. I don’t know if it’s related to five straight seasons of playing a hundred plus games and just all the wear and tear, but it’s devastating.”
Curry’s reaction after Thompson went down said it all. He slammed the ball in frustration and sat on the opposite end of the court in disbelief.
“It’s just tough in terms of a guy like Klay that left it all out there,” Curry, also speaking before the diagnosis, said. “He was playing amazing tonight. And to see a freak play like that where he lands awkwardly. I don’t know the diagnosis yet, but you think about the person and the guy and how much he loves to play the game and that’s the only thoughts you have. It’s really not about what it means in terms of playing basketball. It’s just I’m more concerned about him as an individual than — and hoping that’s all right.
” … In the history of this NBA you could highlight every team that was supposed to win or had the best team and all the different story lines. And 82 games and a full playoff run, a lot can happen. It’s just a matter of how much you fight and just leave it all out there on the floor. I think the way that we have talked and described this journey and whatnot, I don’t think there’s ever been a situation where we have taken anything for granted. And that’s something I can look back and just hold.
” … It’s kind of a helpless feeling in terms of two freak plays that send these guys back to the locker room. So it’s tough, but it’s part of basketball, it’s part of the game. Again, I just hope their recoveries are strong and they come back better than they were before.”
Thompson was fouled on the play in which he was injured, and he returned to the court to shoot the free throws after initially exiting for the locker room — a show of heart that didn’t shock his teammates in the slightest.
“If they would have let him stay out there he would have stayed. That’s just who he is,” Draymond Green said. “You see him try to run back down the floor like, what are you doing? But that’s Klay. How many people is going to play with a hamstring injury? No one. Like no one does that. So that’s just the way he is, man.
“That guy is — he’s a warrior and obviously that’s no pun intended with that, but there’s no other way to describe him. He’s going to give everything he got every time he step on the floor and even some things that he don’t have, which is his health. He was going to try to give it more. That’s just who he is. That’s why we love him.”