Durant's injury is the tipping point contenders wait for

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The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists.

These playoff coordinates are familiar territory for the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.

On ESPN's First Take early Thursday. the panel of Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and Molly Qruim were discussing the impact of Durant's injury.

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The Warriors are 26-1 in their last 27 games when Curry plays but Durant does not. While Golden State now holds a 3-2 series lead, it heads back to Houston for Friday's Game 6. Houston had already vaporized Golden State's 20-point lead. Memories of coach Steve Kerr, channeling Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp's inspirational speech from the day before, labeling his team "f--ing giants".

When it comes to pulling a rabbit out of the hat, nothing will top the Warriors' Thompson-led comeback in Game 6 over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference finals.

Even so, it's a simple question, no matter what level of talent you're starting with: Would you rather have Durant on the court or not? He is scheduled to be re-evaluated next week, meaning if there is a decisive Game 7 in the series Sunday he would be out of that one as well.

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It's possible that Golden State's offense will run more smoothly at times since they know Durant won't be able to bail them out with his brilliant isolation scoring. "Two very key sequences in that game, two key shots for us", Green said.

These franchises, and the devoted fans who live and die with every moment, resemble hopeless romantics most of the time, but they do it, year in and year out, for the opportunity the Warriors' current vulnerability presents. But Kerr, who is expected to address the media again Thursday night after the team's charter lands in Texas, was proud of his players for fighting until the end of Wednesday's game. "It was just...a few loose balls, few rebounds that we just didn't come up with which we have been".

"It varies. Every game it's something different", Rockets guard James Harden said. We've got to be better, offensively, defensively, especially myself, turnovers.

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"Hopefully, we get Kevin back at some point". Except this one is going to hurt the Rockets more, this is the one where the breaks went their way.

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