Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Semifinals between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets was like if the Night King died in Game of Thrones, but the rest White Walkers stayed alive and killed the rest of humanity throughout Westeros.
Warriors superstar forward Kevin Durant sat Game 6 after injuring his right calf the game before. Durant’s injury didn’t matter, at least for one game.
Golden State guard Stephen Curry scored all 33 of his points in the second half, including 23 in the fourth quarter as the Warriors eliminated the Rockets for a second consecutive season in the 118-113 win. Curry scored 16 points in the final five minutes of the game.
Several reports indicate Durant is expected to miss the first two games of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trailblazers.
The start of the series on Tuesday will mark Golden State’s fifth consecutive Western Conference Finals appearance. It’s fitting Durant’s new biography entitled KD: Kevin Durant’s Relentless Pursuit to be the Greatest is released the same day in bookstores across the world.
The Athletic columnist Marcus Thompson II wrote the biography, which chronicles the 10-time NBA All-Star’s journey from Prince George’s County in Maryland to winning two titles for the Warriors. The book details Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder organization after nine seasons.
Several factors make the upcoming NBA offseason infinitely more exciting than the rest of the 2019 playoffs, including the Rockets’ elimination. Houston presented Golden State with its biggest challenge. All six games in their playoff series were decided by six points or less. The Warriors remain the favorite to win the 2019 NBA Finals, in the team’s quest for a third consecutive championship.
Other factors that make for an exciting offseason are Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery (aka the Zion Williamson sweepstakes) and Durant’s free agency along with several other stars.
For example, the Brooklyn Nets are now the new favorite to land guard Kyrie Irving. Durant and Irving have long been rumored to sign with the New York Knicks in the offseason. However, would the two players really want to sign with a team that had a 17-65 record this season?
Plus, Thompson’s book points out Durant signed with Golden State for the Bay area’s connections beyond the basketball court. Thompson’s book points out that while Durant was playing for the Thunder, he expressed interest in the Chase Center. The new arena was initially scheduled to open for the 2018-2019 season.
The Chase Center will host the Warriors starting next season as the team will no longer play at Oracle Arena.
Thompson also looks at the investments Durant has made into companies like Postmates, the Players’ Tribune LimeBike and Pieology. Durant also launched Thirty Five Media as he ventures into content production.
Durant has come a long way since growing up in “the DMV,” the hotbed of basketball talent that emerges from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Thompson’s book examines Durant’s strained childhood relationship with his biological father, why he wears the No. 35, the reasoning behind several of his tattoos, his “dueling banjos routine” with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Draymond Green’s text message that led him to leave Oklahoma City.
The book also briefly touches on how Durant created burner social media accounts to respond to criticism from teenage fans as recently as September 2017. It could have gone into more detail about a four-time scoring champion, NBA MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP shouldn’t care about the opinions of people he doesn’t know on social media. It’s extremely petty. To make an analogy, lions don’t concern themselves over the opinion of sheep.
For nearly Durant’s entire career, he has been in second place one way or another. He was the second best player in his high school class behind Greg Oden, he was the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, he’s finished second in NBA MVP voting several times and lost to the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals.
As LeBron James, 34, begins the twilight of his career, entering the 17th year of his NBA career, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and perhaps Williamson seems to be the league’s next superstars.
Whether Durant fends them off to be considered the league’s undisputed best player depends on if the Warriors three-peat this season, and how the offseason shakes out.
Initially, Thompson writes that Durant did not respond well to joining the 73-win Warriors, the team that eliminated the Thunder in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Could it factor in Durant’s possible decision to remain with the Warriors at least for another season?
It remains to be seen what kind of role, if any, Durant plays for the remainder of the playoffs as he rehabs his calf injury.
The first three games of the Western Conference Finals are set for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Perhaps Sunday’s series finale for Game of Thrones comes before Durant returns to the court. As for the White Walkers coming back, don’t hold your breath.
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