The Golden State Warriors have a tall task ahead of themselves tonight when they take on the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Not only will they be trying to close out a very good Rockets team on the road, but they’ll be without Kevin Durant.
Durant is out for the rest of the series - and possibly a bit more, should the Warriors advance - due to a calf strain sustained during Wednesday’s Game 5.
But fellow superstar Steph Curry thinks the team will be just fine, and will fill the KD-sized void by committee.
"At the end of the day, 48 minutes, we need one win. Come in swinging tonight - play aggressive, play confident.— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 10, 2019
Do what we do."
Steph’s on the ahead of Game 6. pic.twitter.com/t8gcFh8Kch
“There’s different lineups that we’ll have out there,” Curry said at Friday’s shootaround, when asked about how Durant’s absence will impact the team defense. “There will be subtle adjustments, but for the most part it’s just energy and effort. We understand how great of a defensive player he is - protecting the rim at times, being able to switch, all that type of stuff. But whether it’s [Kevon] Looney, Zo (Alfonzo McKinnie), JB (Jordan Bell) coming off the bench, whoever, Jonas [Jerebko], we’ll do it by committee. And we gotta just be able to help each other as we’re out there. It’s just gonna take energy and effort to do that, so we’ll be ready.”
Curry also stressed that a game without Durant doesn’t put excess pressure on his shoulders. He knows that the team needs to step up - and that starts with him - but the mentality stays the same.
“I always feel like that, no matter what the situation is,” he remarked, when asked about his responsibility tonight. “That might manifest itself in different ways. Might mean you gotta go out and shoot 30, 40 times. It’s just playing aggressive, and doing what you need to do to help your team win. No matter what the situation is, it’s coming in with the right mindset. I know I gotta play well, gotta be aggressive. I’d like to shoot the ball better, all those types of things, but confidence stays the same. I just gotta play my game. I didn’t wake up today with extra weight on my shoulders or anything. I feel that every single day. So, just play basketball, and have fun doing it.”
I think I speak for everyone when I say that 30 or 40 shots would be an okay thing from Curry tonight.
One thing is clear: The Warriors have their heads in the right place going into this Game 6. The calm confidence is certainly there.
Now we just wait and see if it works.