Kevin Durant’s calf injury puts the spotlight back on Klay and Steph in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Durant attempted a jump shot and landed awkwardly, without any contact, then reached for his lower leg.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr says he will miss Game 6 in Houston.
The good news is that Golden State is up 3-2 in the series and they have more than enough firepower without Durant to defeat the Rockets.
The Warriors were champions before Durant arrived. For some strange reason, certain people think Steph Curry is some sort of sidekick now. I’ve even heard some ESPN nut describe him as a “role player.” He’s a two-time MVP. If I’m not, mistaken, he’s also generally considered the greatest shooter in NBA history.
Steph Curry before Kevin Durant's injury: 9 PTS (4-14 FG, 1-8 3PT)
After: 16 PTS (5-9 FG, 2-3 3 PT)
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 9, 2019
Klay Thompson is also considered one of the greatest shooters the game has ever seen.
These guys can carry a team.
Last night we saw the return of the Splash Brothers. People have short memories these days. Let’s not forget that this unprecedented and lethal shooting combination shook the NBA to its core and changed the way teams are constructed with their early title win and a 73-win season.
Before Durant got there, Golden State wasn’t in need of any help getting wins.
“Short term they certainly can pick up the pieces and win…obviously they’ve won without Durant,” said NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen on Get Up. “There have been questions about Klay…Steph stepped up when Durant was out (in Game 5). Those players are going to have to carry the team in Game 6. I believe they can do it but they have to play their best basketball going forward.”
When Durant went down in the third, it became more of an opportunity for Klay and Steph to get rolling and be in control of the offense. Golden State didn’t miss a beat. Curry gutted out 25 points as he continues to work through the difficulty of shooting with his messed up finger. With the main offensive responsibilities shifting back to his shoulders, he should come up huge again in Game 6.
After scoring 27 points combined in the last two games on 3-of-12 shooting from three, Klay scored 27 last night. Durant’s arrival has affected Klay as much as anyone. It’s not as much reflected in the numbers as it is in Klay’s demeanor on the court. He won’t have to sit back and wait to get his opportunities to shoot. It’s been a while since we saw him attack the rim with such aggression.
— NBA (@NBA) May 9, 2019
Durant’s injury is also an opportunity for Houston to turn the tables on Golden State, who defeated them in seven games last season. Many believe that if Chris Paul didn’t miss Game 7 with an injured hamstring, the Rockets would have gone on to win the championship.
We will never know, but Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who is 1-3 in playoff series in which his team is facing a 3-2 deficit, is definitely looking at Durant’s injury as a golden opportunity.
In reality, it’s more like pick your poison.
The Splash Brothers are more than capable of lighting it up and compensating for Durant’s absence. Draymond Green probably prefers it. The threat of having Kevin Durant on the floor makes Golden State a more explosive squad, but it doesn’t necessarily make them a better team.
Steph, Klay, and Dray are back together again. The original core is on the floor for at least one more game.
All Steve Kerr has to do is go back to the old playbook featuring the Splash Brothers and the 1-2 punch that launched the Dub Nation Dynasty.