Warriors forward Kevin Durant has been ruled out for the remainder of the Western Conference Semifinals series against the Houston Rockets with a mild calf strain, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant has a mild right calf strain and will miss the rest of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday.
Durant will be re-evaluated next week, a source told Wojnarowski. The Warriors lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 on Friday (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET). If Golden State can't close out the series then, Game 7 will be Sunday (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).
With Durant unavailable for Friday's Game 6 and a possible Game 7, the rest of the Warriors will need to pick up where they left off in Wednesday night's emotional victory, following the gut-punch they received when KD limped back to the locker room. Before that moment, late in the third quarter, Stephen Curry had looked out of rhythm, missing point blank layups as well as what is usually considered high-percentage (for Curry) three-point shots. Here is a comparison of Steph's numbers during the regular season versus what he's done against the Rockets in this series:
2018-'19 Regular Season: 27.3 ppg, 5.3 reb, 5.2 ast, 1.3 stl, 47.2% fg, 43.7% 3p, 91.6% ft
Western Conf. Semis vs. Rockets: 22 ppg, 4.6 reb, 5.2 ast, 1.2 stl, 39.3% fg, 26.2% 3p, 82.7% ft
Curry's shooting percentages are particularly troubling, as his team will need him to get back to his MVP form for Golden State to have a chance to close-out this series. His fellow Splash Brother, Klay Thompson hasn't seen quite the same drop-off, between his regular season performance and the playoffs, but more will be needed from him, as well. Thompson's shooting percentages versus the Rockets, during this series, have been average: 41.7% fg and 34.7% 3p. Those are down from his 2018-'19 season's averages of 46.7% fg and 40.2% 3p.
Dubs fans can rest-assured, knowing that this team has handled their business, sans-Durant, in the past. Their first championship of their current run was captured with the combined star power of Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green (with help from Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Iguodala). That basic nucleus still exists in blue and gold, plus the huge lift the team has received from former-first round draft pick Kevon Looney.
It's a matter of keeping up the defensive intensity, staying out of foul trouble, and shifting back to the Warriors pre-Durant era brand of offense. Winning in Houston, when the Rockets are backed up against a wall, will undoubtedly prove difficult. But it is possible. No team who is ahead in a seven-game series 3-2 wants to drop Game 6 and have to play a deciding-Game 7. Coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors will have their opportunity to shut the book on the Rockets' season on Friday night in Houston.
Previously: Warriors Win Game 5, Lose Durant in the Process
Photo: Game-Face Photos