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Kevin Durant avoids reporters; Warriors cautious with DeMarcus Cousins ahead of NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, left, walks away

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, left, walks away from referee Ken Mauer during the first half of Game 5 of the team's second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets in Oakland, Calif.  Credit: AP/Ben Margot

TORONTO — As the Warriors took the practice court Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena Kevin Durant was nowhere to be seen and was just as invisible as the other Warriors players spread around the court for interviews.

So even though he traveled with the team here there was no chance to ask him things like what number would he like to wear for the Knicks next season. And there was no more clarity on his status for the NBA Finals beyond Game 1 — in which he won't play.

“I think we already announced he's not playing in Game 1,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “His next step is individual court work, so that will be the next priority over the next couple of days. Hopefully he can wrap that up, and then he's going to have to practice. We have to see him in practice before he can play a game, and he hasn't practiced yet.”

While Durant remains out of action, DeMarcus Cousins remains in limbo. Kerr said that it has not been decided yet if Cousins will be active for Game 1 after suffering a quadriceps injury in Game 2 of the opening round of the playoffs six weeks earlier.

“DeMarcus has done an amazing job coming back from the injury, which we felt at the time was season-ending,” Kerr said. “He's done an incredible job of rebounding, rehabbing . . . I mentioned the other day, if this were the regular season, I would throw him out there and he would play whatever minutes he could tolerate and we would build him up from there. This is not the regular season. This is the Finals. So we have to figure out what's the best way to utilize him, how many minutes can he play, what the game feels like, what the matchups are like."

“it's never really up to me,” Cousins said. “We'll put our heads together and come up with the best plan moving forward . . . We’re stubborn, we're bullheaded, we feel like we can fight through anything, and that's not always the best case for the individual. So obviously we'll come together and figure out the best plan for me.”

Lin sees greatness in Curry

Jeremy Lin is a part of the Raptors bench now, but he was a rookie on the Warriors in the 2010-11 season, playing behind Stephen Curry, who was in his second season. And what he learned most about the sharpshooting Warriors guard is that he has sheer determination.

“I don't know what our record was, but we weren't great that year that I was there,” Lin said. “And, after 81 games he had gone through ankle injury after ankle injury, and we were literally going into game 82, the last game, and he rolled his ankle the game before, and everyone was like, "Don't play, we're not playing for anything. You're risking it. You already injured your ankle a bunch of times."

“And so for me I was, you know, excited in terms of getting an opportunity to play, because they had called me up from back then the D-League and so I was getting excited to play. I was expecting to start and they were like, 'Actually, Steph might play tonight.' And I was like, 'What? He just rolled his ankle.' I didn't know if he was healthy enough. So he had to play through a lot of pain, but the fact that he actually did that, like swollen ankle, Game 82, and just got out there on the floor and like against everyone's suggestion and I was like, man, this dude loves the game and he cares about it and he doesn't take it for granted . . . And I'm not saying that was the smartest thing, but it showed his passion for the game. And when you have someone that loves the game that much and is that talented, they're going to be great.”

New York Sports