Golden State has scarcely used its bench this series, but now has no choice given that Durant, the National Basketball Association playoffs' leading scorer, has played 42.4 minutes per game against Houston.
The Warriors are 26-1 in their last 27 games when Curry plays but Durant does not.
According to Warriors PR team, Durant will not travel with the team to Houston for Game 6 so that he can continue to receive treatment in The Bay. On Thursday he told reporters that Durant may eventually return this postseason if Golden State advances, but won't play in the rest of the series against Houston.
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Then, they heeded Steve Kerr's simple message: "Poise and awareness and poise and patience applies to all of life and not just offense", the coach said beforehand. They did it because the Warriors bench was a force and scored 33 points in a deciding game, stepping up into Durant's shoes.
Even so, it's a simple question, no matter what level of talent you're starting with: Would you rather have Durant on the court or not? "Go play the game.' And he sent that message, and it got across to all the guys". He is to be re-evaluated next week, meaning if there is a Game 7 in the series Sunday he would be out of that one as well.
The best-of-seven series was tied at two games apiece.
Here are the three takeaways from Clutch City's Game 5 outing. The reigning MVP injured his eyes during the first quarter of Game 2 last Tuesday (last Wednesday, PHL time) on a hit by Green as they fought for a rebound. This is probably the best-case scenario for Golden State; with the way Durant grabbed at his leg on Wednesday night, many feared the worst. We'll find out more about that later.
While the Warriors are eager to see how far their belief can take them, what's no less intriguing is how the Rockets respond to being shifted into the role that has eaten them into pieces. "We got to have his back - that is what tonight was about", said Warriors Stephen Curry.