Durant encouraged by recovery, but not pushing it: 'When I get back...'

Durant encouraged by recovery, but not pushing it: 'When I get back...'

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant is feeling good enough to send his spirits soaring.

Two weeks after sustaining a bone bruise to his left tibia and spraining his medial collateral ligament, Durant said he finally is able to resume a few of the functions normally taken for granted.

“I’m just feeling good about getting back and doing normal things, like walking up and down the stairs and driving a car,” he told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday while sitting in the locker room 90 minutes before tipoff of Warriors-76ers at Oracle Arena.

Though there still is no timetable, there are signs of appreciable progress.

“Kevin was out there shooting today, on the floor,” coach Steve Kerr said, referring to the team’s morning shootaround. “Set shots. But that’s a big step. A few days ago he was shooting from a chair and now he’s standing up and taking set shots. Before long, it’ll be jump shots.”

Clearly encouraged by his recovery, Durant concedes he has to resist the temptation to push himself. It’s his natural inclination, but while monitoring pain levels and stability, he realizes he has to find a balance between caution and determination.

“When I get back, I want to be all the way back,” he said. “I want to be able to do all the things I normally can do.”

Stretched out before his cubicle, Durant also conversed on a variety of other topics, including the NCAA Tournament. (He is leaning toward Villanova.)

What was evident, though, was his sense that the worst is behind him and he is on the way back. He is scheduled for re-evaluation in two weeks. There is hope, but no assurance that he can return in time for the playoffs.

“I don’t bother him or ask him how he’s doing all the time,” Kerr said. “I just trust the training staff to get him healthy. And we’ll welcome him back when he comes back.”

 

Warriors guard Livingston begins turnaround after shooting dry spell

Warriors guard Livingston begins turnaround after shooting dry spell

OAKLAND -- Amid the recovery mission that followed the absence of Kevin Durant, as every Warrior eventually pitched in, Shaun Livingston stood virtually alone as someone who wasn’t doing his part.

The Warriors, and Livingston, would like to believe that is about to change.

When Livingston made 3-of-4 shots in a 112-87 rout of the Mavericks on Tuesday night, it was the first time he shot higher than 50 percent on multiple shots since Feb. 28, the day Durant went down with a knee injury.

“You go through slumps,” Livingston said after practice Thursday. “Fortunately for me, I’ve played long enough to know. You keep shooting. Keep pushing forward, good things will happen.”

As the Warriors lost that game at Washington, and four of the next six, Livingston’s usually reliable midrange game disappeared. In the first 10 full games since Durant was sidelined, Livingston shot 18.8 percent (6-of-32).

So his teammates did the heavy lifting. Andre Iguodala excelled as the steady vet. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green dipped and then came hard. Stephen Curry climbed out of his rut and started dancing again. The big men -- Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and David West -- were titanic. Pat McCaw, Ian Clark, Matt Barnes and James Michael McAdoo filled in the gaps.

They had to, because Livingston the most reliable shooter on the team was nowhere to be found.

“We all want to play the best that we can,” Livingston said. “But the reality is it doesn’t work that way all the time.”

On Tuesday, for the first time this month, Livingston looked like himself. He was the guy who shot 55.6 percent in October, 54.4 percent in November, 57.6 percent in December, 58.9 percent in January and 54.1 percent in February.

“It was good for Shaun to see the ball go in the rim,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s had such a great year shooting the ball, and then the last couple weeks he hit a dry spell. Which is going to happen to everybody.”

The “dry spell” was shocking, because it was Livingston. He’s in the final weeks of his third season with the Warriors, and throughout that time there was only one month in which he shot less that 49 percent (47.5 in March 2015). Signed in July 2014 to be the team’s No. 3 guard and primary backup to Curry, Livingston is shooting 51.9 percent in his Warriors career.

The Warriors would like to think he’s ready, once again, to do his part.

“Last game was good for him, just to make a few and see the ball go in,” Kerr said. “I’m confident he’ll get it going.”

Warriors forward Matt Barnes 'trying to kill' the Kings

Warriors forward Matt Barnes 'trying to kill' the Kings

The Kings waived Matt Barnes during the All-Star break.

Less than two weeks later, he signed with the Warriors.

On Friday, Barnes will square off against Sacramento at Oracle Arena.

"I'm trying to kill 'em," he told the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau on Thursday. "Simple."

In 54 games (13 starts) with the Kings this season, Barnes averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting just under 33 percent from deep.

His final game in a Sacramento uniform came against the Warriors on Feb. 15. He registered 15 points and 14 rebounds.

"Things didn't go well there," Barnes added. "They're the enemy now."