‘We’re not done yet’ — Uncertainty looms large but a champion’s confidence remains

Injuries to Thompson and Durant compound Warriors’ future plans

Karl Buscheck
June 13, 2019 - 10:44 pm

A cart full of champagne was being delivered into the road locker room. This wasn’t the way Oracle Arena was supposed to go out.

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This wasn’t the way the Warriors were supposed to go out.

With 10 minutes to go in the club’s eventual 114-110 loss, which iced the Raptors’ title, Bob Myers made his way down the tunnel, linking the locker room to the bench. He continued along the baseline, then hung a left.

He was looking for Joe Lacob.

The president of basketball operations/GM literally couldn’t get to his boss, seated in his customary front-row seat. He wanted to tap the owner on the shoulder. A fan had to intercede. Myers needed Lacob to accompany him to the locker room where Klay Thompson, the latest injured Warrior, was waiting.

The chants began in the second quarter.

As Thompson knocked down three free throws in order, the shouts began echoing around the upper bowl.

“Game 6 Klay. Game 6 Klay.”

With 2:22 in the third quarter, Thompson went up for the layup. Danny Green fouled him and he went down. Thompson needed a pair of teammates to help him down the tunnel. Some two minutes later, miraculously, he was back.

Thompson tried to play defense, tried to stay in — on what would prove to be a torn ACL.

"We committed the automatic foul to get him out of the game," Kerr said. "And he came back and he told me: 'Just two minutes.' I think there was just two minutes left in the third, and he said: 'Just a two minute rest, I'll be ready.' And next thing I heard was he was done for the night." 

And then he was gone again, leaving the arena on crutches.

To that point he had 30 points. With his two free throws, the Warriors were up 85-80.

After the loss, head coach Steve Kerr wasn’t interested in entertaining counterfactuals.

“Doesn't matter,” Ker said. “He went down.”

Just like Kevin Durant had three nights prior. The Warriors’ two biggest free-agents-to-be, felled by a ruptured Achilles and a torn ACL in the final two games of the season.

“We can sit here and say, ‘Well, if this hadn't happened or that hadn't happened…’"

"That doesn't matter,” Kerr explained. “What matters is Kevin Durant is going to miss next season with an Achilles tear and Klay suffered a knee injury...

"But it's just brutal. It's just brutal of what these guys have had to deal with and what they're dealing with right now."

Of the big four, only Stephen Curry and Draymond Green end the tumultuous season on a healthy note.

With eight seconds to go and the Warriors trailing, 111-110, Curry had his chance. His 27-footer was off.

“I'll live with that,” Curry said. “We always talk about that, myself and Klay, in terms of shots that we take, you live with it.”

“I would shoot that shot every day of the week.”

It was a bitter end to the season, to Oracle Arena (closed out with three consecutive losses) and the remarkable five-year Finals run.

Uncertainty looms large. Durant’s Achilles. Thompson’s knee. A new building in a new season.

What to do in free agency when a pair of serious injuries cloud the plan?

Green, alone at the podium, spoke softer than usual, but his words carried their customary force.

“I think everybody thinks it's kind of the end of us,” Green said. “But that's just not smart.”

“We're not done yet,” Green continued. “We lost this year. Clearly just wasn't our year, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. But, yeah, I hear a lot of that noise, it's the end of a run and all that jazz. I don't see it happening though. We'll be back.”

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