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The Golden State Warriors will have to start the Western Conference Finals without arguably their best player.
The upcoming series against the Portland Trail Blazers is set to begin Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
Despite the missed time, head coach Steve Kerr was optimistic the forward would be back “at some point in conference finals,” per Nick Friedell of ESPN.
Still, this makes the Warriors more vulnerable heading into the conference championship.
Although Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson carried the squad to victory against the Rockets, Durant’s absence is a significant one. He leads the league with an average of 34.2 points per game during the playoffs, including three games with at least 45 points.
This has helped keep the team afloat while Curry and Thompson have struggled with consistency.
The forward has also proved he can make a greater impact as the stakes get higher, winning NBA Finals MVP in each of the last two years.
With that said, Golden State has showed it can excel without Durant. Before he joined the team in 2016, this core had reached the NBA Finals in two straight seasons while winning it all in 2015. The remaining players will get a chance to prove they can win on their own for at least the first game or two.