If the Golden State Warriors want to win three straight championships they'll have to continue battling without Kevin Durant. He should return to the hardwood soon enough, but don't expect to see him at Oracle Arena this week.
Golden State eliminated Houston from the playoffs with an impressive victory on Friday. After going scoreless in the first half, Steph Curry put together a second-half performance for the ages.
The Warriors didn't just advance to the next round in convincing fashion, they proved they are still contenders even with Durant off the floor.
Next up for Golden State is a showdown with Portland. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers in their Game 7 win over the Denver Nuggets.
The defending champions will be heavily favored to win the Western Conference Finals. However, the Warriors will begin the series without Durant.
According to ESPN writer Ramona Shelburne, Durant is out for at least Game 1 due to his calf injury. He is also "unlikely" to play in Game 2 for the Warriors.
With Durant still nursing his injury for this week, the pressure is on Curry and Klay Thompson to carry the offense.
On the other side, the Trail Blazers have the opportunity to potentially steal a game on the road because of Durant's absence.
We'll have a better understanding of how much additional time Durant will miss when he gets re-evaluated on Thursday.