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#pounditTuesday, September 29, 2020

Kevin Durant, Warriors ignoring heavy favorite tag against Blazers

Kevin Durant Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs, but don’t tell them that.

The Warriors were quick to dismiss prognostications that they would easily coast past Portland, with forward Kevin Durant in particular making clear that the Warriors would not be taking anyone lightly.

“Man, this the NBA,” Durant said, via ESPN’s Chris Haynes. “We don’t look at paper, we don’t look at who’s the underdog, we don’t look at none of that stuff. We know that you can be beaten any night. These guys are NBA players. It’s hard as hell to be an NBA player. It’s hard. It’s hard to be a playoff team. One through eight, it’s hard. No matter how easy people think it is, it’s hard to be Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum or Noah Vonleh. It’s hard as s— to be that, and we know how tough that is.

“So, we’re not underestimated any players because they’re NBA players. You got to respect them. That’s just the name of the game. That’s just what the game tells you to do, to respect your opponent. We got to go out there and play our game. We can’t expect to win because everybody else is expecting us to win, or [because] we had a better record, or what looks good on paper. We got to go out there and play. Everybody in here knows that. I don’t think we even thought about us being on paper a better team.”

Draymond Green was particularly dismissive of ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, which gave the Warriors a 99 percent chance to advance past Portland.

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Green said. “We didn’t see that [percentage]. You saw it.”

There has been a clear effort to keep Golden State from falling into complacency as the playoffs arrive. None of them are taking Portland lightly, nor should they.

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