Basketball Twitter went off its rocker after Kevin Durant limped to the Warriors locker room upon suffering a non-contact injury to his lower leg in the third quarter of Wednesday night's Game 5 against the Rockets. Before the contest's conclusion, however, Golden State provided an update on their superstar's status, diagnosing KD with a right calf strain .
The two-time reigning Finals MVP has all but been ruled out for Friday night's Game 6 and his availability for a potential Game 7 is very much up in the air. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few adjustments the Warriors can make to compensate for Durant's 25 points per game that he is averaging against Houston.
4. Unleash Kevon Looney
Let's put some RESPECT on the rebounding force of nature that is Warriors big man Kevon Looney. The 2015 first-rounder out of UCLA quietly contributed 5 points in Game 5, but his true importance came on the glass, where he grabbed 9 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive, giving Golden State much-needed second chance opportunities on an off-shooting night.
This was all accomplished in just 22 minutes of game time. More minutes will equate to more rebounds and therefore, more daggers into the heart of Houston's much needed one-and-done trips on the defensive end.
3. Give Shaun Livingston More Minutes
Golden State has a matchup nightmare sitting on their bench, logging just 16 minutes per game in the series against the Rockets. That man is Shaun Livingston, the ageless veteran who was vital to the Warriors success prior to Kevin Durant's arrival in 2016. Since then, however, the lengthy winger has still proved valuable, but limited minutes have hindered what he can truly contribute.
The 33-year-old vet can still score against the best of them and Golden State will need him to get buckets in Durant's absence.
2. Get Klay Thompson Going Early
The conversation on Thursday will be about Steph Curry's late surge, but the unsung hero of the Warriors Game 5 victory over the Rockets was Klay Thompson. The once-slumping marksman was largely invisible in the postseason thus far, but poured in 27 points on 11-for-20 shooting, including 5-for-10 from 3-point land. The Klay of old showed up and if that continues, the Warriors will role.
Without Durant on the floor, the ball will find Thompson's hands more frequently in the early stages and that is simply a recipe for success for Golden State.
1. Play Through Steph
It didn't take a brain surgeon to realize KD's unfortunate departure unleashed a more free-willing, attack-minded Steph Curry -- the player he was before Golden State signed Durant three summers ago. The two-time MVP turned on the Jets in the closing stages of Wednesday night's Game 5, scoring 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and willing his Warriors to a hard-earned victory in the process.
Let's not be quick to forget that a Steph-led GSW team won 73 games just a few seasons ago.