Warriors big underdogs on news of Durant injury

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The Warriors return to the scene of two first-round losses when they host the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night in Oakland, Calif. Strategy wise, the Rockets made the adjustment of the playoffs by inserting PJ Tucker as the small ball center in most Houston lineups, which does not allow the Warriors to seek out and attack Clint Capela on the defensive end.

There were fears Durant might have suffered a more extensive injury, but the team said in a statement the MRI confirmed the initial diagnosis of a right calf strain.

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Durant had scored 22 points in 32 minutes prior to his injury. Game 6 is scheduled to tip on Friday, May 10, at 9 p.m. ET.

Steve Kerr won't have Kevin Durant, who - in Kerr's widely-shared opinion - "has been the best player in the National Basketball Association in these playoffs" for the rest of this series. James Harden scored 38 points to lead Houston to the win and Kevin Durant totaled 34 points in defeat for Golden State. The game was tied at 72 going into the final 12 minutes. Thompson, who had been held in check throughout much of this second-round series, hit five three-pointers en route to a team-high 27 points. That spread would be the largest Golden State has faced with Steph Curry in the lineup and Steve Kerr as head coach - a span of 440 games dating back to 2014, including the postseason.

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The Warriors went on to win game 5 104-99 to go up 3-2 as the series shifts back to Houston for game 6 on Friday night. Harden's lone free throw in the fourth quarter was the result of a technical foul on Draymond Green. Harden's left eye was still red leading into Game 5. But while a calf strain is an injury with a more optimistic outlook, Kerr said to The Athletic that the star forward will sit out the next game in the series. The Warriors flew home from Houston later Tuesday so players could receive treatment and have some recovery time, and then it was back on the airplane Thursday.

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