If you are like me and stayed up until 1:30 in the morning (Eastern Time) to watch the Warriors-Rockets game, you would have noticed that GS led by 20 at one point before taking a back-and-forth contest and coming away with a victory. But, it was late in the third quarter that the life was taken out of the crowd, and the game changed.
After knocking down a 15-footer, KD landed and started walking back on D. After a few steps, he began to slow and limp. As Reggie Miller stated on the broadcast, “It feels like somebody kicks your Achilles, even though it is a non-contact play” in regard to suffering that injury. KD limped back to the locker room with the help of the trainers, and about 10 minutes later, the first tweet came out from reporter Shams Charania. It was a right calf strain, and he would not return. He missed roughly a week with that injury when he suffered it a season ago.
Luckily for GS, Steph Curry was finally able to step up, as he made shot after shot down the stretch and some key free throws as well to lead the Dubs to the victory and the 3-2 series lead. They could not have done it without Kevon Looney though. When you look at the stat sheet, you’ll only see five points, nine rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block, and a +5-net rating. But, five of the rebounds were on the offensive end, and he had the pass to Klay to help seal the deal. He was all over the floor in his 22 minutes, and he played huge minutes with KD not on the floor.
Rockets Blow Opportunity
Houston blew a serious opportunity to take a 3-2 lead and become the first road team to win in the series. They had their chances, but James Harden was not aggressive in the fourth quarter and didn’t really look to shoot the ball. Chris Paul looked like a shell of his former self, which has been the case for much of this series. The 34-year-old is owed $40 million each of the next few years, and that could end up holding them back. Eric Gordon was hitting timely shots, but it was PJ Tucker’s heel just being over the sideline which killed the team. He had the chance right there to cut the deficit to two, and well as you saw, out of bounds. No basket.
Getting back to the KD injury, it completely took the life out of the stadium. The team struggled to make shots for a while before they finally got going. KD missed the final month before the postseason before his first playoff run in GS, and he came back okay. But they are already without their starting center, and now they have lost one of the best forwards of all-time. If there has ever been a team built to win without one of the greatest scorers we have ever seen, it would be these Warriors.
Warriors Have To Adapt
While they look very different from the 73-9 team three seasons ago, they still have Klay, Steph, Draymond, Bogut (kind of), Looney, Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston. Their bench depth is not great, so they would likely start Looney at the five, and slide Draymond and Iguodala each down a rung on the ladder. The offense should primarily go through Curry, and if that’s the case, they could just as well be a dominant group out there.
We’ll likely hear more ahead of tomorrow night’s game, but we should not expect KD to play. Prayers up, Kevin Durant.