HOUSTON (CBS SF) — The amazing abilities of Golden State star Kevin Durant makes it difficult remember that the Warriors won a NBA Championship and set a league record with 73 wins in a regular season before he arrived.
On Friday night, the Warriors will take on the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of their NBA semifinals series with Durant sidelined with an injured calf.READ MORE: 2 Officers Shot, Suspect Dead In San Luis Obispo
When asked how he planned to replace Durant, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr chuckled — “You just find somebody on the bench who can give us 35 points, 2 blocks and 11 rebounds and nine assists.”
“He’s been the best player in the NBA in the playoffs,” Kerr continued in a more serious tone. “He’s been phenomenal so it’s obviously a huge loss but our team has a lot of confidence.”
The word confidence sounds a bit odd, but it’s the championship chemistry that has been built between Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston over the years that will have to power the Warriors if they are to advance past the Rockets.READ MORE: Bay Area Horse Trainer Speaks Out After Kentucky Derby Winner Tests Positive For Banned Substance
“The one good thing here is we have do have experience from before Kevin was here with Steph, Klay, Draymond, Andre, Shaun — our core guys,” he said. “We’ve been successful. It’s not to say it’s the same. That was a few years ago. But we’re comfortable we can be successful with that group.”
The years of experience has also built up the intangibles within the fabric of the Warriors.
“They trust each other, they have won championships together,” Kerr said. “So we come out and give it our best shot. We try to mix and match some lineups and find some minutes and some contributions where we haven’t had them so far in series. Guy will get opportunities who haven’t had an opportunity yet. It will be a little different, but there is no reason we can’t go get a win.”
When asked how they can replicate the kind of effort the Warriors showed in Game 5 when Durant went down — Kerr used two words common in his coaching vocabulary — focus and fun.MORE NEWS: World-Renowned Bay Area Architect Art Gensler Dies, At 85
“You got to go out there and have focus and fun,” he said. “You have to enjoy it. It’s the playoffs. It’s the ultimate test.”