Warriors

Kevin Durant's incredible offense should spur Warriors to Game 6 win

Kevin Durant's incredible offense should spur Warriors to Game 6 win

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

For the second time this series, the Warriors have disappointed the Oracle crowd. Unlike Game 2, when the Warriors at the very least competed defensively for half of the game, the Warriors came out completely flat and uninspired on defense right out the gates. Since Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, the team has only lost three playoff games at home, and two of those losses are this series.

With every Warriors Outsiders show, we do a simulcast on Facebook Live. Here are some questions and comments that we didn’t get to address from the last show about what ails the Dubs.

Stan Ware: Without a doubt the Clippers are significantly better on the bench than the Warriors. It sounds like you're not giving nearly the amount of credit to the Clippers that they deserve.

You are right, there is not a doubt about that. And I have not heard anyone say otherwise. Lou Williams is the best scoring sixth man in the league, Montrezl Harrell is a beast, and JaMychal Green (who is now starting) has been consistently effective.

The Clippers led the NBA in bench scoring in the regular season. So again, no one is denying the Clippers bench is very legitimate and they deserve a lot of credit for pushing this series to six games. The Clips are scrappy and tough, playing with nonstop energy and fight.

A team deserves credit when they actually take advantage of the Warriors' defensive apathy. And they have. 

Sylvia Young: Kev was huge, what a waste.

Kevin Durant was sensational offensively in this game. He was lethal in every way, attacking the rim with aggression, getting to the free throw line, finding his highly efficient mid-range shots, and even hitting from distance -- which has been inconsistent for KD this season. His five made 3s were the most shots from deep he has made in a game since Jan. 16.

Durant attempted 26 field goals, his highest total since Nov. 29 at Toronto. And I think he probably should have taken more -- he was that good. He has also gone to the free throw line 44 times this series, making 42 of them. Durant has been a monster on offense these last three games, and I expect him to play that way again Friday. 

Vinura Devinuwara: How confident are you with this squad against Rockets? Winning chances?

It is so hard not to look ahead to the next series, but after what we witnessed in Game 5, it is important for the Warriors to take care of the Clippers before even thinking about the Rockets.

However, IF the Warriors were to advance and play Houston next round, I would definitely expect a long, hard-fought series. Houston is playing really well and does an exceptional job of slowing the game and finding a team's weaknesses. But there will be time to fully break down that series if and when the Warriors advance.

PJ Marcelino: Refs are irrelevant cuz they didnt play with urgency from top off

Exactly. Mark Davis had a rough night officiating the game, that goes without saying. But that is definitely not the reason the Warriors lost.

As PJ said, the energy and effort on the defensive end from the get-go were just not there. They did not play with the urgency or focus defensively that you'd expect from a team in a closeout game. At this point, the Warriors have been consistently inconsistent on defense this season, especially at home, so there is no reason simply expect the team to show up fully engaged on a nightly basis.

The Clippers have taken advantage of that, but more talented teams await and are even more capable of exposing even the slightest slip-ups. 

Rich McClure Jr: We should see the Warriors at their best on Friday

I fully expect the Warriors to play similarly to the way they did in Game 3 of this series. They should come out with fire and passion, trying to make up for their apathy and lack of urgency from the game before. The Warriors also will play on the road Friday, where it is much easier to predict effort from the team.

If the Warriors do not close out the series on Friday, I will be stunned.

Why Warriors should be happy Raptors beat Bucks in Game 3 of East finals

Why Warriors should be happy Raptors beat Bucks in Game 3 of East finals

Publicly, the Warriors have no rooting interest in the Eastern Conference. Why would they?

They're one win away from reaching their fifth straight NBA Finals and in the midst of one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time. 

What they should want, however, is a long series between the Bucks and the Raptors. That's exactly why Golden State should be happy Toronto beat Milwaukee 118-112 in double overtime in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series on Sunday. 

After the Bucks dominated the Raptors in the first two games of the series by a combined 30 points in Milwaukee, Toronto held them off north of the border. This series is guaranteed to go at least five games now. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo played 45 minutes before fouling out and the Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard's 36 points over 52 minutes. 

A longer series and more minutes played by the two superstars is a win-win for the Warriors. 

Despite winning five straight games and being ahead three-games-to-none over the Blazers in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors are without two of their top players. Forward Kevin Durant is rehabbing a strained right calf and center DeMarcus Cousins is on his way back from a torn left quad. 

Durant didn't travel with the team to Portland and will be out for Game 4 on Monday night. Cousins, however, is said to be closer than KD in making a return to the Dubs

[RELATED: Steph believes Warriors won't be slowed by Iggy's injury]

Even without the two stars, the Warriors have been on a roll. But players, and even one mother, know how important Durant and Cousins are in the team's attempt to three-peat.

The NBA Finals don't begin until May 30. The Warriors can have over a week to rest and get healthy if they sweep the Blazers. At the same time, their opponent could be significantly less rested, especially if the Raptors keep winning.

Draymond Green's mom agrees Warriors need Kevin Durant for NBA Finals

Draymond Green's mom agrees Warriors need Kevin Durant for NBA Finals

The Warriors are rolling right now. Whether it's the Splash Brothers heating up from deep, or Draymond Green doing it, the Blazers have had no answers for them in the Western Conference finals. 

And they're doing it all without Kevin Durant, the back-to-back NBA Finals MVP. 

Without Durant, the Warriors are looking like the squad that won a ring and set a NBA record with 73 regular-season wins without him. None of that matters, though. When you can have one of the greatest to ever play the game on your team, you welcome him with wide open arms. 

Draymond Green's mother, Mary Babers-Green, agrees. 

Like mother, like son. 

With Durant rehabbing a strained right calf in the Warriors' last four games, all wins, Draymond has averaged 14 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game. Don't tell him the Warriors are better without KD, though. 

“That’s idiotic,” Green said to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami Thursday after the Warriors' 114-111 win in Game 2 over the Blazers. “It’s very idiotic. I don’t think there’s one person in this locker room, one person in this organization that thinks that. And I know for damn sure that any idiot that does possibly (say) it don’t believe it.”

[RELATED: How incident with KD helped Draymond change his demeanor]

Durant will miss Game 4 on Monday. A Warriors win would give them a sweep and well over a week of rest before the NBA Finals begin on May 30.