Kevin Durant, Warriors adamant they won't be taking Trail Blazers lightly

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors aren't trying to hear about how much they're favored to advance past the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.

Kevin Durant took issue with the premise.

"Man, this the NBA," Durant said. "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 underestimating 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."

Golden State swept Portland 4-0 during the regular season and one of those wins was a 45-point thumper on Dec. 17 at Oracle Arena. According to ESPN Basketball Power Index, the top-seeded Warriors have a 99 percent shot of knocking off the eighth-seeded Trail Blazers.

"That doesn't mean anything," Draymond Green said of the prognostication. "We didn't see that [percentage]. You saw it."

Durant said he was unaware of that prediction percentage, as well.

"That's the first time I heard of it, from you," he said. "So, that tells you that we don't talk about stuff like that. We know this team. They're not a pushover. So, we know we have to go out there and handle our business no matter if we're projected to win or whatever everybody else says, we still have to go out there and play."

The Trail Blazers own the second-best record in the NBA since March 1, at 17-6. Lillard told ESPN this week that he believes his team can shock the world and "win the series."

"I have a lot of respect for the Warriors," Lillard told ESPN. "... We're playing our best basketball right now, and that has given us a lot of confidence."

One of the main reasons for the Trail Blazers' stellar play is the midseason acquisition of center Jusuf Nurkic. The Warriors have not faced the Trail Blazers with Nurkic on the roster, and his availability for Game 1 is uncertain as he recovers from a fracture in his right leg.

If Portland is to pull off an upset, Nurkic would have to be in uniform.

"He definitely changes the series, whether he's in or out," Green said of Nurkic. "They're a completely different team with him in there. It changes everything. Obviously, if he plays, I'm sure I'll be on him some."

If the Warriors are to reach a third consecutive NBA Finals, they first must take care of what's in front of them. It's why they're adamant they won't be taking Portland lightly.

"They weren't satisfied with their season, as far as wins and losses, but they're a much better team than their record indicates, "Andre Iguodala said. "They're better than people think, actually. I think they know that. You always talk about appropriate fear. ... They're a very dangerous team."