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Warriors limp into Houston with the Western Conference Finals tied at 2-2

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After a horrid loss in Game 4, the Warriors travel to Beyonce’s hometown for a critical Game 5 against the Rockets.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Four Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I’ll keep it brief.

Game 4 was an emotional roller coaster with great twists and turns that ultimately ended with everyone puking on each other. Today is a new day.

Klay Thompson strained his knee and tried playing through it. Andre Iguodala was out with a leg contusion. Their injuries played a role in the Warriors fourth quarter collapse, but the Warriors lost on their own. Their play was defined by bad shots and a lack of focus. The Dubs made three field goals in the entire fourth quarter and the Rockets played relentless defense. In the end, Steve Kerr drew up a masterful play with 0.5 seconds remaining and Steph Curry’s three to tie the game clanked off the rim. Rockets win, 95-92.

Game 5 awaits.

Game Details

WHAT: Warriors vs. Rockets, Game 5 (series tied 2-2)

WHEN: Thursday, May 24, 6:00 p.m. PST

WATCH: TNT

LISTEN: 95.7 the Game

Blog Buddy: The Dream Shake

Update: Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala

There will surely be new updates after this is published. Stay tuned on goldenstateofmind.com.

It doesn’t make much sense to speculate, but I will anyway. Whatever happens, Thompson and Iguodala won’t be playing at 100%. I think they’ll both end up playing and one will have a big game.

Playing in Houston

Last time the Warriors played in Houston, it didn’t go well. I don’t think any game in this series will go worse than Game 2. However, given the injuries, tonight’s game will be a tough one on the road.

The good news is that the Warriors never lose two in a row. What makes tonight’s game feel strange is that Tuesday’s game felt like a win until it wasn’t.

The Big Story: Kevin Durant

Durant is in the conversation to be the best offensive player in the league. His best moments are awe-inspiring (think Game 1). His bad games are still good. He ran into trouble in Game 4. He took a handful of bad shots in the second half and passed up a game winning shot to pass it to a guarded-Klay Thompson.

Hugo, GSoM legend, noted Durant’s shot selection in our Slack.

hugo [1:33 AM]

“I don’t even mind the KD isos, especially with the lead

they were just the wrong isos”

hugo [1:39 AM]

“the postups on Eric gordon and Chris Paul are good! The top of the key isos on PJ Tucker and Trevor Ariza are bad”

fin.

Hugo’s analysis is cogent but is also an obvious point that we overlook too often. Durant can shoot over anybody. It’s a lot easier to shoot over someone who comes up to your chest than someone who comes up to your neck. It’s also much easier to shoot closer to the basket than farther away. I know, analysis.

As fans, we put Durant in a tough place. We say he should pass to Thompson and Curry when they are open, but are mad when he doesn’t take over at the end of the game. Whether we like it or not, as the Warriors’ bench becomes thinner and the injuries pile up, the pressure will mount on Durant. His in-game decision making will inform the Warriors’ success in Game 5.

What’s going to happen?

If the Warriors win tonight, I think this series is over in six games. The Warriors lost their obligatory game at home. If they lose two in a row, they won’t lose three in a row. I think that they’ll make this series hard on themselves.

Prediction: Rockets 101-Warriors 100

The thing about predictions is that we don’t always want them to come true.