CHICAGO -- The Golden State Warriors may have one of their star players sidelined for an extended period, but Draymond Green said the situation doesn't warrant any extra motivation to sustain a high level of play.
"What is this, Game 61? If you're still looking for inspiration now, you're f---ed," Green told ESPN in an interview centered on playing without Kevin Durant.
Durant was diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and tibial bone bruise after teammate Zaza Pachulia's head landed on his left knee in the first quarter of Tuesday's 112-108 loss to the Washington Wizards. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks, and the Warriors are optimistic the 6-foot-11 forward will be able to play in a couple of regular-season games before postseason play begins.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers are stockpiling talent. They traded for sharpshooter Kyle Korver in January, picked up 2011 No. 2 selection Derrick Williams last month and added point guard Deron Williams and big man Andrew Bogut this week.
J.R. Smith and Kevin Love are expected to return from their respective injuries later this month. When the Cavaliers become whole, pound for pound they will arguably have the deepest roster that has included LeBron James.
For much of the season, Golden State was considered the favorite. With Durant's injury, that tune is changing.
"Who feel like that?" Green asked.
My response was that the majority of the chatter around the league believes the Cavaliers have now leaped the Warriors as the top team in the association.
"Did the majority ever matter?" Green replied.
I said it depends on the player.
"All right, so why would they matter now?" Green countered. "I'm just saying, has the majority ever mattered?"
Before I could retort, Green swiftly cut me off and answered the question himself.
"No. It doesn't. It never has. It never will," he said. "So, you know, they haven't mattered before, why are they going to matter now?"
Some have made the argument that with Durant down, the Warriors are essentially still the dominant force they've been in previous years. However, there is an absence of forward Harrison Barnes and Bogut from last year's team on the current roster.
Those two didn't have good showings in last year's NBA Finals against the Cavaliers, but they were both integral pieces in the organization's championship quests.
"Nah, it's not the same team as last year by any means," Green said. "Look, we're looking at it as one man has gone down and another man has to step up. That's it."
Stephen Curry agreed with his fellow All-Star teammate.
"Our job now is obviously to stay being us, continue to get wins, play well, continue to build toward the playoffs, and then when [Durant is] able to join us, hopefully we'll hit our stride," he said.