He was feeling it.
After biding his time since going down against the Houston Rockets, Kevin Durant made what looked like a dream return early in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and was looking like he’d never left.
With 11 points in just 12 minutes of action, Durant drew a switch onto Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka. He recently joined the big man for his show ‘How Hungry are You?’ and shared exactly what was going through his mind in that moment.
“First of all, when you switched out on me, I was like, ‘Why would y’all switch Serge out on me? Even though I’m a little hobbled right now, it’s a bucket!’ That’s what I was thinking.
“It’s crazy how quickly your mind switches, ‘cause in the matter of the next second it was like I was on the ground thinking about my whole basketball career. It happened so fast and once I got to the back and realized what happened, it was like, ‘Alright, when can I get surgery?’ I was just trying to move on to the next step so fast and try not to dwell on it too much.”
Matched up against his former teammate during the Oklahoma City Thunder days, Durant couldn’t resist the the opportunity to one-up Ibaka 1-on-1. And now, the entire NBA landscape has changed. The two-time Finals MVP is a member of the Brooklyn Nets, as is Kyrie Irving. The Golden State Warriors now look a shadow of their five-time-finalist selves and the league has as much parity as it’s had in almost a decade.
Ibaka asked Durant if he thought the result would be different if the injury didn’t happen, to which Durant provided an emphatic answer.
“For sure. If you put an ‘if’ in front of anything, it can believe anything. So, yes!”
Ibaka held his own, though, quickly trying to verbally stamp out that belief. “I’m telling you right now, no. You know why? because we were like a fire, nobody could stop us.”
Durant was having none of it, quickly quipping back, “I could have, I was like sub-zero.”
The two then went back and forth over how the series would play out before Durant finally got Ibaka to acknowledge that, if there was a Game 7, Toronto would have been very, very nervous. Still, he acknowledged that he had plenty of respect for what the Raptors were about last season and threw out some praise for head coach Nick Nurse as well.
“I love y’all team though,” Durant said. “Y’all play hard as hell the whole playoffs and I just really rock with how y’all play. And y’all coach, like, he’s not gonna create the best X’s and O’s but he knows exactly what y’all need to do to win a possession.”
KD has no hard feelings toward Raptors fans
Earlier in the summer, Durant told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that the Raptors would probably never make the NBA Finals again as karma for celebrating his injury, but cleared the air here, saying he only did so as a jab at the fans and that it was all in jest.
“That was all jokes. Classy fans up there. I understood the whole thing, it was Toronto’s first time in the Finals, they treated it like it was a college atmosphere there so I understood, there wasn’t no hard feelings there but it was fun to just take a little jab at the fans.
“I’m always gonna take a jab at the Raptors fans because we lost to them in the Finals. I’m gonna talk as much sh** as I can about y’all.”
Durant also provided an update on his injury and where his body’s at, making it clear that his intentions are to skip the entire 2019-20 season, but also taking things a day at a time and hoping for the best.
“I’m walking now, doing more everyday, every week I’m getting better,” Durant said. “Looking forward to the next few months, seeing how I progress.”
When asked if he’d come back this year: “I’m just chilling, taking it a day at a time. I’m not expecting to play at all, but who knows, if I keep getting better ... I’m definitely going to take as much time as I need. I’m planning on sitting out the whole season.”
More Raptors coverage from Yahoo Sports