The Golden State Warriors have announced that Kevin Durant, following an MRI, will not travel to Houston for Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The scan confirmed the initial diagnosis of a mild right calf strain, and the Warriors said that Durant will be re-evaluated next week.
With Game 7 scheduled for Sunday, that means that Durant would miss the final two games against the Houston Rockets. That could be potentially disastrous for a Golden State team looking to win their third straight NBA title, and fourth in five years.
Durant came up lame following a jumper with two minutes to go in the third quarter of Game 5 on Wednesday night, was taken back to the locker room and did not return. He had scored 22 points in 32 minutes. Without Durant, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry shot 6-for-12 in the fourth quarter to help lift Golden State to a win.
The Warriors beat the Rockets on March 13 with Durant out, but at the time, they had a full-strength DeMarcus Cousins, who abused Clint Capela for 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists.
Cousins went down early in Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, and while he’s made progress in coming back from a quad tear — beginning to take jump shots this week — his return would likely come in the NBA Finals.
Over the course of the series against Houston, Durant had been able to navigate a physical Rockets defense with ease, averaging 36 points while shooting 46% from the floor and 48% from 3-point range. In 10 playoff games this year leadinginto Wednesday, the two-time NBA Finals MVP has averaged 35.4 points, 5.0 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game, shooting 51.8% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range.