The basketball world rejoiced when Kevin Durant’s scary non-contact injury ended up being a strained calf. The two-time Finals MVP has become a vital part of Golden State’s roster and is on the verge of his best postseason ever. Fortunately, the diagnosis means he should be back in the Conference Finals if the Warriors advance.
The bad news is, the team will have to find a way to beat the Rockets in two games without him. He will not be coming back for games 6 or 7, and all pressure is on for Curry, Klay, and Draymond to step up in the wake of their injured star. But are the trio of Champions still good enough to win a Chip by themselves? Although they did it back in 2015, much has changed since then.
For NBA analyst Charles Barkley, the answer is no. Here is what he said on Inside the NBA:
“The Warriors have no chance of winning without Kevin Durant. This series or any other series.” 👀
-Charles on Golden State pic.twitter.com/0KN2KDhb01
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 9, 2019
With little contribution off the bench, and teams having loaded up since their last pre-KD Championship, it is not a stretch to say losing Durant might have cost them the Championship. The x-factor is Curry.
If he returns to MVP form in time, it may be enough to beat Houston.
Regardless though, it is hard to remember a time where these Warriors have ever been so vulnerable. If the Rockets do not capitalize on this opportunity, they will come to regret it for years.