The biggest difference in the Warriors' two wins versus their two losses against the Rockets in the second round of the NBA playoffs could simply come down to Houston's edge on the glass.
Overall, the Warriors are being out-rebounded by the Rockets, 172-161, in the first four games of the series. The Rockets have nine more defensive rebounds (129-120) than the Warriors, and two more offensive rebounds (43-41).
The battle of the boards really has made a huge difference.
In the Warriors' two wins, they have 18 more rebounds (104-86) than the Rockets. But in the last two games of the series, both losses for the Dubs, the Rockets have 21 more rebounds (124-103) than the defending champions.
Before Wednesday night's Game 5 at Oracle Arena, Shannon Sharpe is calling for urgency on the glass from Kevin Durant.
"Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson should not be averaging more rebounds per game than Kevin Durant," Sharpe said Wednesday morning on FS1's Undisputed. "He's getting crushed on the boards."
"Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson should not be averaging more rebounds per game than Kevin Durant. They're getting crushed on the boards. Kevin Durant has to get in there. Draymond is averaging 10.5 a game but Draymond can't be their only rebounder." — @ShannonSharpe pic.twitter.com/cQBFx8sfx0— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) May 8, 2019
Durant is averaging 5.0 rebounds per game, which is slightly less than Thompson's 6.0 and Iguodala's 5.5.
"He's better than a five rebound a game guy," Sharpe said. "He's better than that. Kevin Durant's gotta get in there. KD's gonna have to pick that up. He needs to be around eight, nine rebounds a game to keep the Rockets from getting so many second-chance opportunities."
Durant is averaging just 1.4 fewer rebounds per game in this series than he did during the regular season. Adding more rebounds per game to his stat sheet would look nice, but it's not that simple.
As Steph Curry and Klay Thompson struggle to find their shooting stroke, Durant has had to carry the load on offense, and he's been nearly unstoppable. He's averaging 36.0 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point range.
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The Warriors as a whole need to crash the boards better and limit the Rockets' second-chance opportunities. But as long as Durant keeps getting buckets like he is right now, his rebounding will be the least of the team's worries.