The Golden State Warriors survived a Kevin Durant injury and a furious comeback attempt by the visiting Houston Rockets Wednesday night to take Game 5, 104-99, in Oakland.
Durant was leading the Golden State attack, as he has throughout these playoffs, with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists in 32 minutes. However, with the Warriors' 14-point halftime lead evaporating, late in the third quarter, KD pulled-up lame following a converted mid-range jumper. The All-Star forward immediately limped off the floor and into the locker room, leaving the sold-out crowd at Oracle Arena stunned and in silence.
With the score sitting at 68-65, in favor of the Dubs, the fate of Golden State would shift squarely into the hands of Steph Curry. The Warrior guard, up to that point, had struggled mightily on offense. With James Harden and the rest of the Rockets getting it going, Curry needed to get back to his MVP form.
The game was tied at 72-72, heading into the pivotal-fourth quarter, and the Rockets had all of the momentum. However, Golden State would get a huge lift from its star guard, as Curry would score 12 of his 25 points in the fourth, dishing out a couple of timely dimes to his teammates, as well. He would finish with 25 points, six rebounds, and five assists, on 9/23 shooting. Not to be outdone, Steph's fellow Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, stepped up big for the Oracle crowd. Thompson had 27 points, four rebounds, and three steals, scoring efficiently, with 11/20 on the floor (5/10 from three-point range).
The game's final moments were hectic and stressful, as the intensity ratcheted up on the both sides. Bodies were diving to the floor for loose balls, leading to tied-up limbs and jump-ball calls. Kevon Looney came off the bench, in Durant's absence, and was huge on the defensive end of the floor. He also made a couple of key plays on offense to help put his team over the edge. His save, on a loose ball late in the fourth, led to the coffin-nailing lefty-layup by a driving-Thompson.
Draymond Green played a huge role in the post-Durant injury run, as well. He narrowly-missed another playoff triple-double, putting up eight points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. He also knocked down a couple of big three-pointers, when his team needed them. He did, however, leave the game early, as he registered his sixth and disqualifying foul with 1:14 remaining and the game within Houston's reach. Luckily for Green, his team prevailed without him, and now enjoy a 3-2 series lead.
Initial reports on the Kevin Durant injury included speculation of a possible Achilles tendon, but the Warriors have officially called it a right calf strain.
Game 6 looms near, Friday night in Houston, and Durant appears to be in serious danger of missing it. For now, the Bay Area will have to sit and wait for updates over the next 36 hours. Curry and co. may just have to get this one done without their All-World star forward.