An MRI confirmed that Kevin Durant, who left Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals prematurely with an injury, has a mile calf sprain on his left leg. He will miss the remainder of the Houston Rockets series and be re-evaluated by team doctors next week.
Durant suffered a mild calf sprain in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors series. Despite losing Durant, the Warriors went on to win the game 104-99. The defending champions hold a 3-2 series lead over James Harden and the Rockets.
Durant averaged 26 points per game in the regular season. In 11 postseason games, Durant averaged 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He was also connecting on 41.6 percent of his three-pointers.
“He’s been the best player in the NBA, in the playoffs,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “He’s been phenomenal, so it’s obviously a huge loss.”
Splash Brothers Reprise
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, otherwise known as the Splash Brothers, were both bogged down in a shooting slump during the playoffs.
Curry and Thompson snapped out of their funk in Game 5. Thompson came out of the gate all fired up and hit seven of his first ten shots. Curry got off to a slow start, but finished strong with the majority of his points coming in the second half. Thompson and Curry combined for 52 points. Durant had scored 22 points before he went down late in the third quarter.
Curry and Thompson won an NBA title in 2015 without Kevin Durant, so this is not unfamiliar territory for the two players. Without Durant in the lineup, the Warriors will be able to move to ball a little better and faster.
“Our team has a lot of confidence,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “They trust each other. They’ve won championships together. So, we come out and we give it our best shot.”
With Durant on the floor, he often gets the ball in an isolation one-on-one situation. He’s nearly impossible to stop in those situations, but it definitely gets the Splash Brothers out of their groove. They perform their best during a frenzied and up-tempo atmosphere. It will be interesting to see how much better (or worse) Curry and Thompson shoot without KD in the lineup.
“It’s a tough injury,” said Klay Thompson. “We’ll have to collectively make up for what he does. We’ve done it before. It will be a gut check time.”
Warriors Odds Without KD
The Golden State Warriors won back-to-back titles since Durant joined the team at the start of the 2016 season. The Warriors were the clear-cut favorites to win three titles in a row before the season began.
Despite a wild season, KD and the Warriors were the favorites the entire season. They held off a surging Denver Nuggets squad to secure the top seed in the Western Conference. Even though the Milwaukee Bucks finished the season with a better record, the Warriors were the team to beat heading into the playoffs.
“We’ll try to mix and match some lineups and find some minutes and some contributions where we haven’t had them so far in this series,” said Steve Kerr. “Guys will get opportunities who haven’t had an opportunity yet. It’ll be a little different. But no reason why we can’t go get a win.”
“Again, next-man-up mentality,” said Steph Curry.
Kevin Looney will be getting a bulk of Durant’s minutes. He scored 5 points and added 9 rebounds while replacing KD in Game 5.
With Durant out, the Warriors are still a favorite, but at their best price of the season. According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book, the Warriors slipped to +140 to win the NBA championship. Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks are +175 to win the NBA title.
Heading into Game 6 without Kevin Durant, the Warriors are 7-point underdogs against the Rockets in Houston on Friday evening. The Warriors have a 3-2 series lead. If there is a game 7, the Warriors will host the Rockets at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Sunday.