OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - The Golden State Warriors have won plenty of games on the postseason stage without their biggest stars.
This time, Kevin Durant got hurt, and Klay Thompson and company found a way when the Warriors desperately needed it.
Thompson scored 27 points, including a key layup with 4.1 seconds left, and Golden State overcame Durant’s calf injury to beat the Houston Rockets 104-99 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
“Honestly it was a little deflating for a second,” Stephen Curry said, “and then we rallied.”
Durant was scheduled for an MRI exam Thursday after he strained his right calf late in the third quarter. His status for Friday’s Game 6 had yet to be determined, but didn’t seem promising.
“We’ll have to claw our way to one more win,” Curry said.
Durant limped to the locker room after landing awkwardly following a baseline jumper. The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists.
“They’ve been here so many times, have been through these battles for the last five years,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “They’ve got a lot of guts. They just pulled together and got it done. There’s no speech necessary. They knew what they had to do.”
James Harden scored 31 points for the Rockets, who will try to stave off elimination back home in Houston.
“It is a do-or-die but I feel good about it,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.
But the Rockets wasted an opportunity in Game 5. After Durant departed, a couple more Golden State stars helped the Warriors close it out.
Draymond Green received his fourth technical of the postseason with 3:39 left, and then knocked down a 3-pointer on the other end. Thompson followed Green’s 3 with one of his own to make it 97-89 with 2:33 remaining.
“Two very key sequences in that game, two key shots for us,” Green said.
Curry struggled with his shot yet again and finished with 25 points on 9-for-23 shooting. He went 3 of 11 from long range.
Curry hit a 3 with 5:09 to play that made it 89-85. He didn’t even score his first points of the night until making a 3 with 4:22 left in the second quarter.
Golden State nearly gave it away with an awful third quarter, when the Warriors managed just 15 points and committed six turnovers. The game was tied 72-72 going into the final 12 minutes.
Green had eight points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in another spectacular effort on both ends.
Bucks 116, Celtics 91
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and the Bucks routed Boston to advance to the Eastern Conference final.
Kyrie Irving scored 15 points for the Celtics, who shot 31.2 percent from the field.