Steph Curry recalls pregame atmosphere before Warriors-Rockets Game 6

Steph Curry recalls pregame atmosphere before Warriors-Rockets Game 6

When Kevin Durant went down with a strained calf during the third quarter of Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round NBA playoff series with the Houston Rockets, a number of people pushed the panic button for the two-time defending NBA champions. 

Steph Curry was in a horrible shooting slump and the Dubs' bench had been rendered almost unplayable against the team that is obsessed with taking them down.

But there was no panic from the battle-tested Warriors.

Instead, holding a three-games-to-two series lead, the Warriors rolled into Houston for Game 6 and brushed aside James Harden and Co. behind Curry's 33 second-half points.

The addition of Durant has made the Warriors almost unbeatable, and it's easy to forget that Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala led the Warriors to the 2015 title and 73 wins in 2016. 

So the Warriors felt no different heading into Game 6 in Houston, despite missing the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

"It wasn't anybody having to go in and make a speech before practice or a game like, 'Alright, let's block out the noise, guys. Let's not listen to anybody,' " Curry said Friday after practice. "Nobody has to say that. It's like we just show up and play basketball."

That approach has served the Warriors well. 

After dispatching the Rockets, the Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals to advance to their third straight NBA Finals appearance.

[RELATED: Steph, KD right to be on message ahead of NBA Finals]

Durant is not expected to be available early in the NBA Finals, but the Warriors hope to get him back at some point in the championship round.

Until then, Curry, Thompson, Green and Iguodala will be tasked with finishing off another championship run.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey admits Warriors' injuries changes philosophy

Rockets GM Daryl Morey admits Warriors' injuries changes philosophy

In Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors, Warriors superstar Kevin Durant sustained a torn right Achilles tendon.

In Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors, Warriors star Klay Thompson sustained a torn left ACL.

Even if both players re-sign with the Dubs in free agency, they are expected to miss most -- if not all -- of next season.

Does Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey change his philosophy this offseason because of Golden State's injuries?

"Yeah, it does a little bit," Morey admitted Tuesday morning on The Dan Patrick Show. "In the past we knew like 90 percent plus we gotta beat Golden State to win the title. Obviously, those odds are a little different.

"And Golden State does force you to play differently, fives (centers) in particular have trouble against Golden State -- some of that is Draymond, some of that is just all their off-ball switching..."

At this point, unfortunately, Morey lost reception on the call. And when the conversation continued, they moved on to a different topic.

We are still weeks away from knowing next season's title favorites, as free agency doesn't open until June 30. The balance of power might shift dramatically.

Morey volunteered that the Rockets are currently pursuing "one of these top free agents," which can only be acquired via a sign-and-trade because of Houston's salary cap situation.

He also said that Houston will be using the midlevel exception this summer and that should land them a very solid rotation piece.

[RELATEDRockets GM Morey explains why CP3 not on the trading block]

The Rockets' roster is nowhere near completion yet Morey remains very confident in his team's title aspirations.

"We feel like we're the favorites in the West going into next season," he said.

With the uncertainty surrounding Golden State, he certainly isn't the only one who feels that way.

And the Rockets have to believe that in 2020 the Warriors won't eliminate them from the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.

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NBA odds: Steph Curry given fourth-best chance to win MVP in 2019-20

NBA odds: Steph Curry given fourth-best chance to win MVP in 2019-20

Steph Curry will have to score a lot of point for the Warriors to win next season. A whole lot. 

Re-signing Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson in free agency won't help him either, at least not for the 2019-2020 season. Durant will miss the entire season with a ruptured right Achilles and Thompson will be out until at least February or March with a torn left ACL. 

Though defenses will flock to stop Curry, expect the star point guard to put up huge scoring numbers. For those reasons, Curry has the fourth-best odds win the NBA MVP next season, according to Caesars Palace sportsbook. 

Curry's odds at winning the award are currently at +600, which places his behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard. But Curry is ahead of LeBron James and his newest Lakers teammate, Anthony Davis.

[RELATED: The Warriors' psychological edge is completely gone]

Even with Durant and Thompson in the fold, Curry still averaged 27.3 points per game this season. That number was good for the second-highest of his career, and nearly four points higher than his first MVP (23.7 points per game) in the 2014-15 season. 

If Curry does win, he'd become the ninth player in NBA history to be voted MVP at least three times.