Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant has been ruled out of Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference finals.

Durant will not travel with the Warriors to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday and Monday due to a calf strain, Golden State general manager Bob Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area prior to Thursdays' Game 2.

"Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who suffered a strained right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals against the Houston Rockets on May 8, has shown good progress since beginning his rehabilitation program one week ago," the Warriors said in a statement.

"At this point, Durant is not ready to advance to on-court work."

The Warriors added: "At this time, the plan is for both players [including DeMarcus Cousins] to be re-evaluated in one week. Both Durant and Cousins were examined by the team's medical staff earlier today."

Durant suffered a strained right calf during Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets last week and did not travel with the team for the Warriors' Game 6 victory on Friday.

He has yet to play against the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals, which the Warriors lead 1-0.

Durant has averaged 34.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the Warriors in the NBA playoffs this season.

Stephen Curry said reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors have to adjust their game plan without star Kevin Durant in the line-up.

Durant has not played since straining his calf in Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets last week and he is still "not close" to returning, according to reports.

Golden State guard Curry was asked how the Warriors' offensive strategy has changed without Durant on the floor ahead of Thursday's Western Conference final Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"Without KD, we have to play differently," Curry told ESPN's 'The Jump. "We have to highlight what everybody’s strengths are and do it by committee.

"You hear the noise, 'KD goes out, nobody, it's weird to say gave us a shot or said we shouldn't have won the Houston series' or whatever the case is. Again, confidence and trust in each other to be able to make that adjustment on the fly."

The Warriors eliminated the Rockets in Game 6 of their semi-final series and have since taken a 1-0 lead over the Trail Blazers in the Conference finals.

"It's fun to win. I don't care what the narrative is," Curry said. "When [Durant] goes out, when he's not in the line-up, we have the ability to shift. … Again, I like winning. Whoever is on the floor, we know how to get that done."

Curry scored 36 points and hit nine three-pointers in Golden State's Game 1 win over the Trail Blazers. His brother, Seth, is a backup guard for Portland.

"Let's just put it this way, when he's on defense, I could care less, because I need to get my buckets, I need to score," the Warriors star said. "But, when I was guarding him, he had a corner three in front of our bench and it's such a mixed feeling. I can't really turn it off, to be honest. … It's just weird."

 

Portland Trail Blazers' Seth Curry does not think the Golden State Warriors are a better team without Kevin Durant but he does think the two-time reigning NBA champions are harder to guard.

Golden State star Durant missed the opening game of the Western Conference finals due to a calf strain as the Warriors beat the Trail Blazers 116-94 on Tuesday.

Curry – the younger brother of Warriors superstar Stephen Curry – was asked about facing Golden State without Durant ahead of Thursday's Game 2 at Oracle Arena.

"I think they are harder to guard [without Durant]," Seth Curry told The Athletic. "They move around faster when he's not out there. They're definitely not a better team, but they're harder to guard.

"Obviously, they play a different style of basketball when Steph and [Golden State guard] Klay [Thompson] are the focal points offensively, and we haven't played that team in a while. We've got to re-shift our focus and make some adjustments."

Portland's Curry scored three points on one-of-seven shooting in Game 1, while his brother finished with 36 points and hit nine three-pointers to lead Golden State to victory.

Durant – a two-time champions and NBA Finals MVP – has not played since he suffered the injury in Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets last week.

He is still "not close" to returning, according to an earlier report from ESPN.

Warriors team-mate Klay Thompson told reporters Durant is "dying" to get back on the court.

"Just him being back there in the locker room and being around practice, I know he’s just dying to get out there on the court," Thompson said, via The Mercury News. "But we definitely feel his energy, and we can't wait until he comes back. We miss him."

 

The Western Conference Finals begin on Tuesday when the Portland Trail Blazers travel to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1.

Golden State has overcome several postseason injuries to key players while Portland has surpassed the expectations of most.

Omnisport looks at three things that could determine the outcome of this series between the Warriors and Trail Blazers.

Kevin Durant's health

The absence of the postseason's top scorer will definitely affect Golden State's offense. Durant has not played since Game 5 of the second round, when he suffered what has been described as a mild calf sprain. One report on Monday said the star could realistically miss four to five games of the Blazers series while recovering.

Durant has averaged 34.2 points per game through 11 playoff contests, but he is effective elsewhere as well. The two-time NBA Finals MVP averages 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. 

His tall frame and astonishing quickness make him one of the NBA's most versatile defenders. His mobility allows him to guard any position and create plenty of mismatches when he initiates the offense.

Part of what makes Golden State so great is their seemingly limitless arsenal, but with two starters down with injuries - Durant and big man DeMarcus Cousins - the Warriors seem considerably more vulnerable.

Stephen Curry is battling a dislocated finger and that makes matters even worse.

Damian Lillard's efficiency

Damian Lillard was not at his best in the second round. 

The Trail Blazers star struggled to be efficient against the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 25.1 points per game in the series but shot just 39.6 percent from the field. He was worse from deep, making just 27 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.

Lillard is deadly when he is on form, and he will need to be that to counter the most efficient three-point shooting team in the playoffs. The Warriors are shooting 37.2 percent from range and will likely throw plenty of bodies at Lillard to limit Portland's offense. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will likely be assigned these roles.

Lillard was phenomenal in the first round against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. He averaged 33 points per game while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from deep.

These numbers probably will not be replicated, but it is clear that Portland's star is capable of so much more. He will need to play closer to his ceiling to reach the NBA Finals.

Bench production

Golden State's rotation choices could be interesting moving forward. The Warriors' bench minutes seemed to diminish against the Houston Rockets. Durant's injury forced them to surprisingly use 11 players in their decisive Game 6 win against Houston.

The Warriors got 33 bench points in that contest, which is unusual for a team that ranks 14th in reserve points per game out of the 16 teams in this year's playoffs. The Warriors are averaging 22 bench points per game, but Portland have not been much better.

The Trail Blazers rank 10th, averaging 27.8 bench points per game.

Getting unexpected baskets from second units could be the force that pushes one side over the top.

Kawhi Leonard's performances in the NBA playoffs this season, as well as the solid ones in the pre-season, have begged the question about whether or not he is the best player in the NBA. A certain Kevin Durant comes up for mention as well. The zone team looks at these two phenomenal basketball players.

The Golden State Warriors "desperately need" Kevin Durant back if they are to three-peat, according to Klay Thompson.

A calf injury meant Durant was absent on Friday when the Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets 118-113 in Game 6 to advance to a fifth straight Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors are due to host either the Denver Nuggets or the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena in the first game of that series on Tuesday, with coach Steve Kerr stating on Friday that Durant would be assessed again "in a week".

And though they beat the Rockets without him, Thompson stressed Durant will be vital if the back-to-back defending champions are to follow in the footsteps of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers and three-peat.

"Like Steve Kerr said, we didn't have the ultimate luxury tonight - a guy who can go out there and get you 40 [points], on a whim," Thompson told reporters.

"We had to play a little more diligent with the ball, we had to be more crisp with our passes and the room for error was a lot less compared to when Kevin's out there.

"I'm happy we won so we can get some rest and get him healthy because if we're going to get this three-peat we desperately need him back, he's our best player.

"We dearly miss him. We'll hold it down while he's out but it's not the same without him, far from it."

Speaking about Durant's injury prior to Game 6, Kerr had said it looked "good for his return in the not-too-distant future".

However, with three games of the Western Conference Finals taking place next week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant may only become involved later in the series.

"We're going to re-evaluate him, I think, in a week," Kerr said after the win on Friday.

"And we'll see. There's really no way of making any predictions right now. It's an injury that requires an update every few days. As of now, we don't have any updates."

Given the Game 6 victory over the Rockets came without Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, another multiple All-Star currently sidelined by injury, Kerr was quick to stress the value of the win.

"It's one of the most satisfying victories we've had during this run," Kerr admitted.

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson said it will be hard to fill Kevin Durant's void against the Houston Rockets in the NBA playoffs.

Defending NBA champions the Warriors will be without Durant for Game 6 of the Western Conference semi-finals due to a calf strain.

Discussing Durant's absence, Thompson believes if the Warriors can rotate as a team and communicate, they can walk away with a win and advance to the Conference finals.

"We have to play with great passion and great heart," Thompson said. "It obviously won't be as smooth without Kevin out there.

"But if we play with those things listed, we'll give ourselves a chance to win. It won't be pretty. But it's the playoffs. I'll take any chance you can get it."

Warriors star Stephen Curry added: "I'll just play my game. I didn't wake up today with extra weight on my shoulders or anything.

"I feel like that every single day. I just play basketball and have fun doing it.

"No matter what the situations is, it's coming in with the right mindset. I have to play well and be aggressive. I'd like to shoot the ball better. But my confidence stays the same. I'll just play my game."

Entering Friday's game, the Warriors have a slight edge as they lead the series 3-2.

Kevin Durant's status for Game 6 with the Houston Rockets is officially up in the air, but Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is in no doubt the star forward will not play on Friday.

Durant is scheduled to have an MRI exam on Thursday after limping out of the Warriors' 104-99 Game 5 win on Wednesday, which gave them a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semi-final series.

The Warriors described his injury as a right calf strain, which Durant appeared to suffer late in the third quarter after attempting a mid-range jump shot. He landed awkwardly, without any contact, and then reached for his lower leg.

"He's not going to play Game 6," Kerr told The Athletic. "We can all pretend and just say he's doubtful. But he's not playing Game 6."

If the Warriors lose Game 6, attention would turn to Durant's potential availability for a decisive Game 7, for which the defending champions would have homecourt advantage.

"Maybe he can bounce back soon, and we can win another game in this series and move forward and maybe get him back," Kerr  told NBC Sports Bay Area after the game. "But we'll see how it all pans out."

Durant scored 22 points and added five rebounds in 32 minutes before leaving the game.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP has been fantastic so far this postseason, averaging 34.2 points while shooting 51.3 per cent from the field and 41.6 per cent from three-point range in the playoffs.

NBA champions the Golden State Warriors moved ahead in their Western Conference semi-final against the Houston Rockets, while the Milwaukee Bucks ousted the Boston Celtics.

At Oracle Arena in California, the Warriors defeated the Rockets 104-99 to claim a 3-2 lead in the playoff series on Wednesday.

Klay Thompson had 27 points, while Stephen Curry added 25 of his own for the Warriors.

Warriors star Kevin Durant left in the fourth quarter with a right calf strain and did not return. It is unclear what his status will be for Game 6.

As for Draymond Green's antics, he was called for a technical foul for kneeing Chris Paul after drawing an offensive foul.

Green would later foul out of the game after playing very well, especially in the early going on home court after collecting 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Game 6 is set to be played in Houston on Friday – the Rockets facing elimination.

Boston fell to Milwaukee 116-91 to lose their Eastern Conference semi-final series in five games.

The Bucks won the final four games of the series by an average of 16.3 points, sealing a 4-1 triumph as Milwaukee await the winner of the Toronto Raptors-Philadelphia 76ers matchup.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Bucks, who reached the Conference finals for the first time since 2001.

 

Bledsoe helps Bucks

Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe had 18 points, six rebounds and two assists in the win.

James Harden had 31 points, eight assists and four steals as the Rockets lost on the road.

 

Irving headlines Boston's woes

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 15 points but his shooting woes continued as he went six of 21 from the floor and one of seven from three-point range.

Austin Rivers did not give the Rockets a lot of help off the bench, going one-of-six shooting and 0 for four from beyond the arc.

 

Giannis with the slam!

The Greek star showcased his MVP credentials again as the Bucks progressed in the postseason.

 

Nuggets at Trail Blazers

In a series where every game but the last one has been good, the Portland Trail Blazers once again have a chance to play on their home court. Portland are fantastic at home and have a chance to extend the series to seven games with victory against the Denver Nuggets.

Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors' Game 5 matchup against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday with a calf injury.

The 30-year-old star appeared to suffer the injury late in the third quarter after attempting a mid-range jump shot.

He landed awkwardly, without any contact, and then reached for his lower leg.

Durant limped off the court and back to the locker room. He scored 22 points and added five rebounds in 32 minutes before exiting.

The Warriors later announced Durant would not return due to a right calf strain.

Durant has been fantastic so far this postseason. He entered Wednesday averaging 35.4 points while shooting 51.8 per cent from the field and 42.9 per cent from three-point range in the playoffs.

Golden State and Houston went into the matchup tied at 2-2 in their second-round series.

Patrick Beverley has been impressed by Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant.

Beverley spent large stretches of time guarding Durant during the Los Angeles Clippers' opening-round matchup with the Warriors, a series Golden State ultimately ended up winning in six games.

Durant has had an impressive postseason run and Beverley praised him during an interview with NBA TV on Monday.

"I've guarded a lot of people," Beverley said. "I went home and I told my friends, 'He is the best player in the NBA hands down. It's not even close.'"

The pair had a few notable exchanges in the playoffs, including a verbal altercation in Game 1 which led to both of their ejections.

Durant tallied 33 or more points in each of the final four games of the Warriors' first-round series. In total, he has averaged 35.6 points in the playoffs.

"He saw something and he went at it every single time," Beverley said. "That's a killer mindset."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said late last month Durant's play has "been off the charts".

The Warriors will face the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their second-round series on Monday. They enter the matchup with a 2-1 series lead.

The Milwaukee Bucks claimed a series-levelling win over the Boston Celtics, while NBA champions the Golden State Warriors earned a commanding lead against the Houston Rockets.

Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks eased past the Celtics 123-102 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series on Tuesday.

After losing Game 1 by 22 points, the Bucks responded thanks to Antetokounmpo's 29 points and 10 rebounds in Milwaukee.

The Celtics' scoring was surprisingly led by Marcus Morris, who posted 17 points on six-of-eight shooting.

Boston will have an opportunity to surge ahead when the series shifts to their home court, with Game 3 set for Friday. 

Meanwhile, the Warriors are firmly in control of their series with the Rockets after moving 2-0 ahead in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Golden State secured a 115-109 win over Houston at Oracle Arena, where Stephen Curry dislocated his finger and James Harden suffered bleeding in his eye.

The Warriors controlled most of the game, but the Rockets rallied in the fourth quarter and reduced the deficit to just three points on a Clint Capela free throw with less than seven minutes remaining.

Curry, however, answered with a three-pointer and Andre Iguodala followed with a dunk, which ended Houston's momentum.

Kevin Durant tallied 29 points for the Warriors while Rockets star Harden also scored 29 in the losing effort. Every Golden State starter reached double figures.

 

Middleton helps Bucks bounce back

Khris Middleton tallied 28 points and made seven three-pointers for the Bucks.

Draymond Green finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the Warriors' win.

 

Irving kept quiet in Game 2

Kyrie Irving scored just nine points on four-of-18 shooting for the Celtics.

 

Brown… how?

Jaylen Brown somehow got this circus shot to fall.

Harden beats the buzzer before the half.

 

Trail Blazers at Nuggets

The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets' top options had amazing offensive performances in Game 1. Damian Lillard scored 39 points while Nikola Jokic contributed 37 for Denver. The Nuggets came away with the win and appear to have bounced back after their seven-game series against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

Kevin Durant does not think there is anything wrong with the way Houston Rockets star James Harden plays.

Some have criticised Harden for flopping and trying to draw fouls, including during the Rockets' game-one loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Durant, however, does not believe that is the case.

"He's always been clever at getting into the paint and using his strength to get guys off," Durant told reporters on Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

"It's, more so than anything, putting pressure on the defense. I think that's what he's always been doing.

"I wouldn't say that he has an advantage. I think everyone, once they get into the lane, they use little tricks to try and get shots off. I don't think he's any different … I wouldn't say that he's found a way to cheat the rules. It's just that he has his style of play and it might not be what everybody likes to see, but it's been effective, and I don't think he's been cheating the game."

Harden was unhappy with the officials and said he wanted a "fair chance" after the Rockets' 104-100 loss to the Warriors in game one.

"I think he plays inside the game, plays within the rules of the game," Durant said. "Referees aren't going to be perfect all game, just like players aren't. So, I think, more so than just the talk of the officiating, it should be about how great all these players are on the court, how they uniquely bring something different to the table."

Harden tallied 35 points but shot just nine of 28 from the field in game one. Meanwhile, Durant tallied 35 points of his own, on a more efficient 11-of-25 shooting, to lead Golden State to a victory.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised Durant after the win.

"He's the most skilled basketball player on earth," Kerr told reporters. "He's one of the most skilled basketball players to ever play the game. There's never been anybody like him – 6-11 handles the ball, shoots threes, passes, defends."

The Warriors and Rockets will match up in game two on Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Luc Longley is no stranger to success in the NBA. He won three consecutive championships alongside Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls during the 1990s.

From 1996 to 1998, the Bulls dominated the league. Phil Jackson's Chicago overcame the Seattle SuperSonics and Utah Jazz for a three-peat.

Now, the Golden State Warriors are chasing the same feat this season. Led by Steve Kerr, who was a team-mate of Longley and Jordan in that iconic Bulls team, the two-time reigning champions are looking to become just the fourth team after Chicago, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers to three-peat.

Reflecting on his own experiences with the Bulls, Longley singled out Draymond Green amid Golden State's pursuit of back-to-back-to-back triumphs.

"We actively kept it fresh and on track," Longley told Omnisport. "I don't think it happens in the same way that chasing your first championship happens, where everything is fresh and on track.

"I often the say the first thing for everything is more exciting, whether it's your first kiss, glass of wine or whatever it is – you're more turned on and excited by the first championship. By the time you get to the third one, you're looking for other things within that to get excited by.

"I think that's why the Warriors keep Green in that locker room, to keep things unsettled and not too comfortable. It's easy to get comfortable. We had Dennis Rodman for that."

The Warriors ended the regular season with a 57-25 win-loss record and the top seed in the Western Conference. Golden State needed six games to get past the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

Golden State – boasting a star-studded roster including Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson – are up against James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the conference semi-finals.

What are the challenges facing the Warriors this season as opposed to the Bulls in the '90s?

"For us, it was age. We were getting old as a team – Michael Jordan, Dennis, Scottie [Pippen], they were all getting towards the end of their careers," Longley said. "The challenges now are the distractions. Social media and the player engagement thing is so much more distracting than it was when I was playing."

The Warriors have the chance to claim their fourth championship in five seasons. A mammoth feat not only for the players but head coach Kerr, who is eyeing his second three-peat.

"He would have a really clear understanding of how difficult it is," Australian Hall of Famer Longley added. "He would've been working all year on keeping the guys fresh and engaged. Sometimes fresh and engaged is challenged.

"One thing that Phil did too, he had several new offensive wrinkles that people hadn't seen in the regular season to our triangle. I think Steve would be giving them some new stuff to play out of. Probably defensively challenging guys a bit."

Longley continued: "I know he [Kerr] will be excited. He will be pumped. Each successive one gets more difficult I think. His collection of hardware is getting ridiculous.

"The reason he is a good coach is that he is proud of his craft and he's into it, and engaged with the team. He would have his juices properly flowing. Steve will be fully awake and engaged now."

"He is intelligent," Longley, who keeps in contact with Kerr, said. "He is considered. He is caring and he is also a cold-hearted b****** when he has to be. He is what you see. Years and years of success have given that a sturdy grain and he has been rewarded for that."

Stephen Curry and Draymond Green hailed star team-mate Kevin Durant, who helped the Golden State Warriors draw first blood against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Durant posted 35 points in Golden State's 104-100 win over the Rockets in Game 1 of the second-round series on Sunday.

Golden State's Green was asked about Durant – a two-time NBA champions and Finals MVP – after the home victory.

"He's playing great right now," Green said. "He's being extremely aggressive. When he's being as aggressive as he's being, I don't think there's anyone in the NBA, maybe the world, that can stop him.

"So, when he's being aggressive like that, that's always a positive for us. It's a challenge for the opposing team, that usually doesn't go that well."

Durant has tallied 33 or more points in five straight playoff games, including a 50-point outing in the Warriors' Game-6 victory over

Curry added: "He's been amazing."

Durant – who has been linked with a move to the New York Knicks via free agency – discussed his form when he met with reporters following the win over Houston.

"Learned a lot so far as a player, up until this point," Durant said. "So, I think I'm starting to put everything together on both sides of the ball. I'm not looking at points, or shots I get up. Just how focused I am on each possession."

While Durant was the star of the game, Curry may have hit the biggest shot.

With Golden State leading by two points and less than 30 seconds left to play, Curry knocked down a contested three-pointer to give his team a cushion.

Curry struggled with foul trouble throughout the game and recorded 18 points on five-of-12 shooting.

"Just have to make plays when the moment is calling for it," Curry said. "My reaction was I just needed one to go down. It was obviously a big one. Thankfully I hit it. … It was a nice moment, for sure."

The Warriors and Rockets will face off in Game 2 at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Tuesday.

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