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“If Klay Thompson had been healthy, I 100 percent believe that we win the title last year,” Green told ESPN’s Sam Alipour in an interview released Friday. “We have no way of ever knowing, but I 100 percent believe that.”
Thompson missed Game 3 of the series with a hamstring injury amid the Warriors falling into a 3-1 series hole. He scored 26 points in Game 5 as they staved off elimination and had 30 points in 32 minutes before leaving Game 6 in the third quarter with the knee injury.
With one of the NBA’s premier 3-and-D players out of the game, the Raptors outscored Golden State by six points in the fourth quarter to win 114-110 and secure the franchise’s first title.
Two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant was limited to just 12 minutes in the series after returning from a calf injury only to suffer a ruptured Achilles that will force him to miss the entire 2019-20 season.
Green made no mention of KD’s status in his retroactive Finals prediction and told Alipour the superstar’s departure to join the Brooklyn Nets actually helped him rediscover his own game.
“I’m going back to the way I was pre-KD, and that’s exciting to me,” he said. “I had to give up shots to make sure Kevin gets his touches, and I don’t regret that. It got me a couple of championships. But as a competitor, as someone who’s still in his prime, who’s been in the gym all summer trying to improve my game, it’s exciting to know that I can go back to playing the way that I was playing before.”
The Warriors’ outlook has changed dramatically since last season’s Finals.
Along with Durant, Andre Iguodala, Quinn Cook and DeMarcus Cousins also left in the offseason. Thompson’s status the current campaign is unsettled as he recovers from the torn ACL, while Stephen Curry is out indefinitely after having surgery on a broken hand.
Green is the last stalwart standing as the Warriors own a 2-10 record, the worst mark in the NBA. It makes the lost opportunity to win last season’s championship even more disappointing for the Dubs.