Warriors

Warriors

After Kevin Durant left Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round NBA playoff series against the Rockets with a right calf strain, the voices of those believing the two-time defending NBA champions were vulnerable began to grow louder.

Facing a foe hell-bent on beating them, the Dubs were tasked with the prospect of vanquishing James Harden and Co. by relying on their "Core Four" and a bench that had been borderline unplayable at times in the playoffs.

For two days leading up to Friday night's Game 6 at Toyota Center, the talk centered around the Warriors' supposed lack of depth and Steph Curry's subpar performance in the series against the Rockets.

The Warriors quickly silenced their doubters, though. Golden State got contributions from everyone on its bench, and Curry exploded for 33 second-half points to lead the Warriors to a 118-113 win that eliminated the Rockets.

After the win, Warriors owner Joe Lacob had a brief, NSFW message for those who doubted the bench mob.

"They say we don’t have a bench. That … is … bulls--t! You can quote me!" Lacob said, via The Athletic's Ethan Strauss.

Well said.

The contributions from Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie helped keep the Warriors in the game until Curry awakened midway through the third quarter. And that was all she wrote for the Rockets.

 

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While the Warriors hope to have Durant back sometime soon, the Warriors now know they can count on their bench if needed. Given the heavy minutes Durant, Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson have played this postseason, this is a welcome development for coach Steve Kerr.

An even more welcome development, though, was Curry's second-half awakening and the fact the Warriors don't have to deal with Harden and the Rockets again until next season.