May 24 (UPI) -- Golden State superstar Kevin Durant disagreed with the idea that the Warriors are a better team without him.
Durant, speaking to the media on Friday for the first time since suffering a right calf strain in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets, told reporters that the Warriors playing better without him in the lineup is "not facts."
"As a player, I think about that. I'm just like, that's not true. That's not facts when it comes from a basketball perspective," Durant said. "The competitive side of me -- I also like to talk basketball as well -- so if you're going to say something like that, I'm going to engage in it. So it's all fun, it's all cool, but I know the real."
Durant also addressed the notion that some don't consider him as part of the Warriors' collective unit. Notably, the star forward corrected a reporter when asked how "their" play has been since his injury, responding with "Our play?"
"It's been that way since I got here," Durant said. "It's been that way since I got here -- 'It's the Warriors and KD.' I understand that, and I felt like my teammates and the organization know exactly what I've done here off and on the court to become a part of this culture, stamp my flag in this culture and organization.
"I know what I bring to the team, but I also know a lot of people on the outside don't like to see us together, and I get it."
Since Durant's injury, the Warriors haven't lost in the postseason, leading to chatter that Durant is a luxury and the team doesn't need the superstar to win a third consecutive NBA championship.
"It's hard to get away from that because I watch the game, and you watch the lead-up to the games, and that's all everybody is talking about," Durant said. "My perspective is just, like, I want to focus on rehab, but I also want to be a fan of my teammates. I want to enjoy my teammates from a different view.
"A lot of those guys sit in a chair and cheer for the rest of the guys, the starting guys, and now I get an opportunity to do the same thing. I turn the TV, and since I can't travel with the team, all I hear is the noise."
The Warriors announced Thursday that Durant is "unlikely" to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on May 30 against the winner of the Toronto Raptors-Milwaukee Bucks series. The team hasn't cleared him for on-court work yet.
Durant is averaging 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in the playoffs.