Warriors

Charles Barkley swears Kevin Durant-less Warriors can't beat Rockets

Charles Barkley swears Kevin Durant-less Warriors can't beat Rockets

With four minutes left in the third quarter of Wednesday night's Game 5 between the Warriors and Houston Rockets, the air was sucked out of Oracle Arena.

Kevin Durant was limping back to the Warriors' locker room after suffering a lower-leg injury that many Twitter doctors feared was a torn Achilles. To make matters worse, the Dubs had blown a 20-point lead and Steph Curry still was looking for his shot. 

Things looked dire, but these are the Warriors, lest we forget. The greatest collection of individual talent in NBA history would not be undone by the loss of one of its three stars, would they?

The answer, at least in Game 5, was a resounding no. Curry found his stroke, pouring in 16 of his 25 points after Durant's exit to lead the Dubs to a 104-99 win and a three-games-to-two series lead. 

While the Warriors survived Game 5 without their 7-foot offensive robot, Charles Barkley doesn't think they can do it again. Against the Rockets, or any other team remaining in the playoffs. 

Following Golden State's Game 5 win, Barkley gave the Dubs no shot of advancing if Durant is unable to play.

"They don't got no chance to win it without Kevin Durant," Barkley said. "This series or any other series. Kevin Durant made them unbeatable. They are not going to beat the Rockets without KD, and they are not going to beat Portland or Denver without KD. That's how important he is. He made them a dynasty. Don't sleep on that. 

"People say, 'They won one,' Well they did, and they was terrific. And they won 72. They lost that series. But that was like five years ago. People act like that was two years ago. They did not become a juggernaut until KD got there. Everybody who knows basketball, he's the guy who made them a dynasty. They are not going to beat the Rockets."

The Warriors announced Thursday that Durant has a mild right calf strain and will be re-evaluated in a week. He will not be available for the remainder of the series against the Rockets.

The Warriors' "Core Four" turned back the clock a bit Wednesday, as Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green powered them to a crucial win. But they'll need to be even better to finally eliminate the Rockets. Golden State certainly has the firepower to win one more game against their rivals and then regroup for a Western Conference finals battle with either the Denver Nuggets or Portland Trail Blazers.

[RELATED: Steph's dislocated finger reportedly is a 'more significant problem']

But without Durant, the Warriors' margin for error shrinks considerably. Their bench has been borderline unplayable at times against the Rockets, and now they might have to find a way to survive without their security blanket. It will be up to Curry to lead the Warriors past James Harden and Co. and into the Western Conference finals. It won't be easy, but the Warriors have the talent and championship pedigree to weather the storm.

The Warriors have been sticking to a seven-man rotation for the most part against the Rockets, with Alfonzo McKinnie playing sparingly. But now, the two-time defending NBA champions must adjust their lineup and gameplan if they plan to continue their march to a third straight NBA title. 

Klay Thompson's Game 6 vs. OKC belongs on Bay's Mount Rushmore, Steve Kerr says

Klay Thompson's Game 6 vs. OKC belongs on Bay's Mount Rushmore, Steve Kerr says

Every Warriors fan remembers exactly where they were when Klay Thompson saved Golden State's season in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference finals in Oklahoma City.

I was in Nashville, Tenn., for a cousin's wedding, unable to watch the thriller on TV. I had to follow along on Twitter.

With the 73-win Warriors on the verge of being eliminated by the Thunder, Thompson went thermonuclear with a single-game NBA playoff record 11 3-pointers. He finished with 41 points, and "Game 6 Klay" was born.

It's one of the most iconic performances in Bay Area sports history.

But does it belong on the Mount Rushmore of best Bay Area performances? Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes so, and he explained why Friday during an interview with 95.7 The Game.

"Just one of the most incredible, clutch performances in such a desperate moment," Kerr said on the "Damon, Ratto and Kolsky" show. "We were really dominated for most of those series, and we were just hanging on for dear life in that game, down eight or 10 for most of the game. I've watched that game several times since, and it's almost impossible to fathom what Klay did and what he was able to do individually in that game to pull the game for us. It was just an amazing performance."

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Thompson's performance allowed the Warriors to return home for a Game 7, where they knocked off the Thunder to advance to a second straight NBA Finals.

In terms of best Bay Area performances or moments, I would lock in Thompson's Game 6 vs. OKC, Madison Bumgarner's Game 7 relief outing against the Kansas City Royals in 2014, and the Joe Montana-Dwight Clark "The Catch" from the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The fourth member of this list is open for debate. Could it be Travis Ishikawa's pennant-winning homer in 2014? Steph Curry's 37-point performance in Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals? Kevin Durant's dagger 3-pointer in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers? Montana's Super Bowl XXIII-winning pass to John Taylor? Montana's five-touchdown performance in the 49ers' Super Bowl XXIV win? Steve Young's six-touchdown effort in the 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX win over the San Diego Chargers? Edgar Renteria's two-run homer in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series? Cal-Stanford's "The Play" in 1982? Something else?

[RELATED: Dub Nation loves 'Game 6 Klay']

Bay Area sports fans, tell us which four individual postseason performances or moments you would carve into your Mount Rushmore.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Where Steph Curry's back-to-back MVPs rank among 2010s award winners

Where Steph Curry's back-to-back MVPs rank among 2010s award winners

The last decade was littered with some of the greatest MVP seasons in NBA history.

From Russell Westbrook in 2016-17 becoming the first player to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson in 1962 to LeBron James taking his game to new heights during the 2012-13 season, there was no shortage of singular campaigns to remember. Of course, Warriors star Steph Curry was plenty unprecedented on his own, becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history in 2015-16 and the only player other than James to win the award multiple times in the 2010s.

[RELATED: Warriors' season reportedly over in NBA plan likely to pass]

Curry's MVP wins will stand the test of time, but where do those campaigns stand among his award-winning peers' in the last 10 years? Here's how I ranked the MVP-winning seasons of the 2010s, starting with arguably the biggest outlier among the bunch. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHERE CURRY RANKS AMONG THE LAST 10 MVP WINNERS

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