Warriors coach Steve Kerr says Stephen Curry ‘went into a different mindset’ after Kevin Durant got hurt
Stephen Curry put on the cape when the Golden State Warriors needed him the most, forcing himself out of a horrid shooting night and making up for it with some clutch shotmaking to close out a vital Game 5 without Kevin Durant.
Durant hurt his lower leg late in the third quarter, an event that put Curry back in the driver seat as the primary scorer.
The two-time MVP responded, bouncing back from a nine-point, 4-of-14 shooting performance to start the game to making five of his next six shots, including two huge 3-pointers to keep the Rockets at bay.
Following the game, Steve Kerr had plenty of praise for his veteran point man:
“I think when Kevin went out, Steph just went into a different mindset,” said Kerr, according to Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. “Kind of reminded me of four, five years ago before we had Kevin, we were heavily dependent on Steph generating a lot of our offense back then. He doesn’t have as big of a burden on his shoulders now. He’s fully capable of taking on that burden when necessary. Tonight it was necessary in the fourth quarter.”
Curry scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth, managing to keep the Warriors’ home-court advantage by going up 3-2 in the series — a clutch win given the stakes. Curry explained how things changed without Durant:
“I mean, we have certain play calls we call for KD to get him into the right spots to take advantage of different mismatches, get him into sweet spots,” Curry explained of the change of strategy. “Those play calls may go away, but the main identity of who we are offensively is moving the ball, moving bodies, trying to create good looks with regular motion offense and things like that.”
The Rockets came back from a 20-point deficit in the second quarter and tied things up by the end of the third, forcing Curry and company to muster their best effort to come out victorious. The two-time MVP was relieved to find his game again:
“It was a breakthrough, for sure,” said Curry.
The Warriors will now have a real test on their hands to close out the series without Durant, facing Houston on the road Friday, with the potential for a Game 7 back at Oracle Arena to decide who punches their ticket to the Western Conference Finals.
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