Kevin Durant Jersey

The story of the Golden State Warriors’ 122-103 win in Sunday night’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals was Stephen Curry: A masterful 33-point performance that could help propel him to his first Finals MVP award. He hit nine threes, an NBA Finals record. And he hit one circus three-pointer in the third quarter – backpedaling out past 30 feet, fading away, with Kevin Love’s hand in his face, after a possession in which the Cavaliers had played 23 ½ seconds of great defense and the shot clock sounded as the ball fell through the hoop – that was absolutely demoralizing to the Cavs.

Yes, Steph was the story on Sunday night.

But Steph was not the key to the Warriors’ dominating win on Sunday night.

The key was Kevin Durant.

And going forward, if Durant can keep playing with the same sort of team-focused, keep-the-ball-moving mentality that he brought to Game 2, well, we might be in for a mighty short series.

“A lot of people are going to talk about Steph’s game and Klay [Thompson] having 20 as well, but I thought K.D. was the guy that really had it going tonight for them and was the difference maker,” Kevin Love said afterward. “Anytime that K.D. is really hitting shots at such a high clip — he was 10 of 14 tonight for 26 points, and he was at plus-24 plus/minus, so they’re very tough to stop when he’s hitting shots.”

By no means did Durant take over this game in the same emotional sense that Curry did. Durant scored a quiet 26 points on an efficient 14 shots. Instead of the iso ball that he’s reverted too all too often during these playoffs — he averaged 2.5 iso possessions per game during last year’s playoffs but is averaging more than seven iso possessions per game during this year’s playoffs — Durant relied on his teammates.

And the Warriors’ beautiful brand of team basketball returned. Curry was electric, Klay Thompson was solid with 20 points, JaVale McGee and Shaun Livingston both scored in double figures with perfect shooting nights … all these things were able to happen because Durant did not dominate the ball.

“Isos are great, and we have guys that are capable of doing that all across the board,” Curry said after the game. “But when we keep the ball moving and keep bodies moving, good things usually happen. So I think that’s — when we’re dialed in offensively, we’re really efficient with getting into the paint, kicking it out, finding an open guy, whether it’s me relocating to the corner or Klay coming off a pin down or Draymond [Green] getting an open three. We’ve been pretty locked into that type of offense.”

Let’s look at one possession in particular that showed what an unselfish Durant can unlock for these Warriors. As the clock wound down on the third quarter, the Cavaliers found themselves in a pretty decent position. The Warriors hadn’t busted out with their patented third-quarter burst, and the Cavs had actually closed the Warriors 13-point halftime lead to eight points. Durant dribbled the ball at the top of the key, and it started to feel like all of these Durant iso possessions that have thrown a wrench in the Warriors’ style these playoffs. Durant put his head down, barreled toward the rim, drew a double team — then whipped a beautiful cross-court pass to David West, all by his lonesome in the corner. West swished the three, his first made three since November.

“David West’s three was probably the biggest three of the game,” Green said afterward. “They were kind of making a run, and they wouldn’t go away and then he hit that three from the corner right in front of their bench. It was a gut punch.”

And it all happened because Durant shied away from his worst ball-hogging instincts and made the smart pass.

Good things can come from a small amount of Durant isolation. He is, after all, one of the most talented scorers in NBA history. He can create all by himself. He can drain high-degree-of-difficulty shots that lesser players can’t even dream of making. But when that becomes the focus of the Warriors offense instead of a fallback plan when other things aren’t working, that creates a huge problem. We saw that in the Rockets series. And we saw it in Game 1 of the Finals, when Durant went an inefficient 8-for-22 and forced up way too many bad looks. That was Bad Durant. If the Warriors had lost that first game — and let’s be honest, the Warriors should have lost Game 1 — Durant would have shouldered the majority of the blame, and not just because he didn’t box out J.R. Smith.

If, for Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland, Kevin Durant keeps the “play within the system” mentality that he showed in Game 2, this series may not even make it back to Oakland.

Stephen Curry Jersey

Stephen Curry will probably miss the rest of the regular season. CreditThe N.B.A. playoffs start in three weeks. Whether Boston’s Kyrie Irving and Golden State’s Stephen Curry will be ready when the postseason starts seems doubtful.

The Celtics said that Irving would need three to six weeks to recover from a procedure performed on Saturday to relieve irritation on his left knee, that news coming almost simultaneously with word that Curry has a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. The Warriors said Curry, who was hurt when his teammate JaVale McGee fell awkwardly into him during a victory on Friday night, would be evaluated again in three weeks.

Based on those timetables, it would appear that both the Celtics and the Warriors will not only be without their All-Star point guards for the rest of the regular season, but very easily could still be without them for when their first-round playoff matchups begin on April 14 or 15.

In the short term, it would seem that being without Irving or Curry for the final games of the regular season will not have a pronounced effect on either club. Boston is fairly well locked into the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, trailing East-leading Toronto by 4½ games but leading Cleveland by six. Golden State, four games behind first-place Houston in the Western Conference and 10 ahead of third-place Portland, will almost certainly finish No. 2 in the West.

“It could be a lot worse,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr told reporters just before Curry’s M.R.I. results were revealed. “You think about some of the other guys in the league that have suffered injuries this year. Gordon Hayward is the first one that comes to mind. This is not a major injury. The timing’s not ideal, but we can overcome this. Steph can be back this year.”

“Just got to hold down the fort,” Kerr added, “and understand this is all part of the journey.”

If Irving needs six weeks, that would mean the Celtics — a team that has been dealing with injuries since the first quarter of the first game of the season, when Hayward was lost for the year — would need to get through the entire first round without their best player. Irving’s procedure was to remove a wire in his surgically repaired kneecap, since that wire was irritating a tendon and apparently causing soreness.

“It’s tough when you lose anybody, especially multiple guys,” the Boston rookie Jayson Tatum told Celtics.com. “We’re just going to have to try to figure it out and figure out how to win games.”

Besides Hayward and Irving, the Celtics have been without the rotation players Jaylen Brown, who may return on Sunday; Marcus Smart, who is expected to return next month; and Daniel Theis, who will miss the rest of the season.

The Warriors have also been dealing with multiple injuries. Curry had ankle problems before the knee injury, and the reigning champions have also been playing of late without the All-Stars Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Green is expected to return on Sunday, and Durant’s return is likely this week. Thompson should play again before the end of the regular season.

And the Warriors have been through this drill before, including last season when Durant sustained an M.C.L. sprain — the same injury Curry is now dealing with.

Durant came back in plenty of time for the playoffs, and the Warriors went 16-1 in the postseason on the way to their second title in three seasons. But he needed about five weeks to get right, and if Curry needs that long, the Warriors could be without the two-time winner of the Most Valuable Player Award in the opening round.

“Some years everything goes great,” Kerr said. “Some years they don’t.”

Draymond Green Jersey

After the Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 121-103 on Thursday evening, power forward Draymond Green voiced his frustration with the treatment he has been receiving from the officials.

“Yeah, I don’t know what to do at this point,” he said. “It really don’t matter what I agree with. I don’t have no power in this situation. Yeah, I don’t know what to do at this point. It is what it is.”

The three-time All-Star picked up his league-leading 14th technical foul four minutes into the second quarter. Green laid the ball in over Mavericks backup point guard Yogi Ferrell, and his momentum found him under the basket. The ball came down and ricocheted off Green’s left shoulder, darting out of bounds. Referee Tre Maddox immediately issued the Warriors a delay-of-game warning. A shocked Green stood near half court with his arms stretched out, explaining to the official that the ball just hit his shoulder.

And then before turning away to get back on defense, Green waved him off. That’s when Maddox hit him with the T.

“When you lay the ball in and you’re standing right under the rim, it’s probably going to hit you,” Green said in an extended postgame rant. “It’s just like physics. My body is a solid. Nothing is just going to [go] through me. It’s not a video game. It may work like that in ‘[NBA] 2K’ where like the ball may just like slide through my body, but not in real life. So it’s probably going to hit me and when it hits me, gravity or whatever it is — I’m not a scientist, but you get where I’m getting at. It’s probably going to go another way. That’s just how life works.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers addressed the team at morning shootaround, urging the players to limit the techs and to just play ball. Speaking to media after Friday’s practice, coach Steve Kerr said, “The only thing I’ll say is that Draymond is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever been around. I love his edge, I love his fire and we need that. And having to channel that can be difficult and that’s the goal, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Green finished the game with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks in 32 minutes, but he made fun of his 4-of-17 shooting night.

“Maybe I should have missed the layup like I missed the rest of them, and then it wouldn’t have hit me and then I wouldn’t have gotten a delay-of-game and then I wouldn’t have been told I threw an air punch and that’s why I got a tech,” Green continued. “So yeah, I don’t know. I’ll try to miss more layups. I missed a bunch of those tonight. So, it worked. I didn’t get another tech. That’s the goal. Miss more layups, don’t let the ball hit me and then don’t throw air punches, which I’m still trying to find where the air punch was.”

Draymond Green picked up his 14th technical foul Thursday night against the Mavericks -- the most by any NBA player this season.

Earlier in the day, Green was fined $50,000 for directing inappropriate and offensive language toward a game official during Tuesday’s 125-105 loss to the Thunder. Referee Lauren Holtkamp hit him with a technical in that contest after the forward refused to get out of her face. Green was complaining about a missed call that resulted in his mouth bleeding and his tooth getting pushed back.

“The tooth thing is definitely something I can’t control. I had to pay $500 to get it fixed, too,” he said. “Like, my insurance didn’t cover $500 of it. That’s pretty upsetting. I got fined $50,000 for getting hit in it. That’s pretty upsetting. So, it cost me $50,500 for getting hit in the tooth. That’s great. It’s amazing. That’s an expensive tooth. I could have just got a fake one for less than that.”

With the accumulation of technical fouls, Green has been fined a total of $153,000 for the season. He has been ultravocal about his disdain for some of the league’s officials, even going as far to tell The Athletic that the NBA should get a “whole new crop” of referees. He was asked whether what occurred Thursday night is another example of the tension between referees and players.

“Probably, but it is what it is,” Green responded. “I don’t really care about communication with players and referees. On a better note, my son walked from the parking lot to the kid’s room today, and that’s like a really long walk. And he tried crying a few times, and I just said, ‘Come on, man. You got it.’ And he did, so that was amazing. Through the midst of getting fined $50,000 for getting hit in the tooth and getting a tech for air punching, my son has walked as far as he’s walked in his life, and that’s pretty incredible.”