The Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets 104-99 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals to take a 3-2 series lead, but Warriors’ star Kevin Durant left the game in the third quarter with a strained calf injury.
Durant suffered a non-contact injury after he took a jump shot and came down on his leg a little funny. He will be undergoing an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the calf injury. Durant missed three games this season with a similar strained calf.
The Warriors won a title without Durant, but they’ve also won back-to-back titles with him. The Warriors are also playing without backup center Boogie Cousins, who tore his quad during the opening-round series against the LA Clippers.
Before he exited the game, Durant led all scorers with 22 points in 32 minutes of action. He also had 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
“That looked like it was way worse than a calf strain,” said teammate Draymond Green said. “I think we did a great job of fighting through that.”
Green stepped up when Durant went down. The emotional spark plug for the Warriors finished the night with 8 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Splash Bros. Slump Over?
The Splash Brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, have been struggling to score after poor shooting performances this postseason. They both had breakthrough games in Game 5 at a time head coach Steve Kerr needed them the most.
Steph Curry also switched gears the moment Durant left the game. Curry got off to a slow start, but finished strong.
“Honestly it was a little deflating for a second and then we rallied,” said Curry.
Curry ended up with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. He still struggled from long range with a 3-for-11 clip from three-point land.
Klay Thompson also busted out of his slump. Thompson got hot early on and went 7-for-10 on his first ten shots of the game. He finished with 27 points on 5-for-10 from downtown and led the Warriors in scoring.
James Harden finished with 31 points on an efficient 10-for-16 from the floor. He missed six treys but went 7-for-7 everyone else inside the three-point arc.
Harden, who suffered injuries to both eyes in Game 2, sort of disappeared in the fourth quarter and took only took one shot and scored three points in the final seven minutes of the game.
“I mean, he does whatever we need to be done,” said Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. “He kind of let it go a little bit. We scored every time that he was kind of quiet.”
Then again, the Warriors stepped up their defense. They held the Rockets to only 29 percent from three-point range. Eric Gordon went only 3-for-10 and Chris Paul went 0-for-6 from downtown.
Clint Capela, Gordon, and Paul combined for 11-for-38 overall from the floor. Throw in Austin Rivers’ rough night off the bench, and those four players combined for 12-for-44 or 27.2 percent shooting.
The two teams meet for Game 6 on Friday night in Houston. The Rockets opened as a consensus 7-point favorite with Kevin Durant presumably missing the game.