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.
Kevin Durant's Achilles injury is devastating.
As a basketball player and as a human being, it is an overwhelmingly unfortunate situation for him. Durant pushed so hard to come back to help his team, and ended up paying a immense cost for doing so.
What happens next for Durant is still a mystery, but one thing is certain, many narratives and takes will try to assign blame for the injury. Right now, instead of playing the blame game while there is no clear facts of what happened behind the scenes, it is time to simply feel for Durant and all he is going through.
The Warriors organization and the NBA as a whole is worse without him.
Looking back and analyzing Game 5 of the NBA Finals without thinking about Durant is hard to do, but the Warriors are in a dogfight to survive and win a third straight title. Their 106-105 win over the Raptors in Toronto was one of the most gutsy performances the Warriors have had since Steve Kerr arrived, but they still need to scratch and claw to win two more games without arguably their best player.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will have to step up even more than they have previously if they want to will the team to the title.
Here are some important stats that the orginial Big Three has accumulated in the playoffs:
Steph Curry's rebounding
We all know about Steph's scoring and the pressure he puts on opposing defenses. But one of the most under-the-radar aspects of Curry's game is his rebounding. Despite being consistently one of the smallest players on the court, Curry is adept at attacking the ball at its highest point and putting his body in position to ward off opposing rebounders.
During this playoff run, Curry has had six games in which he has collected eight or more rebounds. Last playoffs, Curry had only one such game. Going back even further, he had two games of eight or more rebounds in the 2017 playoffs and four games in 2016.
The emphasis to crash the boards has been an important part of a defensive effort to limit second-chance points. With Kevin Durant out, DeMarcus Cousins hobbled and Kevon Looney dealing with a painful chest injury, the Warriors will need all the help they can get on the boards, and Curry is stepping up.
Klay Thompson's 3-point shooting
Warriors fans are hardly surprised by Klay Thompson fireworks at this point. Very few players in NBA history can catch fire behind the 3-point line like Klay. The Warriors will need a lot of that if they intend to come back in the series, and Game 5 was a great start.
Thompson hit seven shots from deep, matching his high from the current playoffs. While he has been known to make seven 3-pointers in his sleep in the regular season, it has been much harder to come by over the last few playoffs.
Playing against elite opponents with their defensive focus amplified, Thompson has had to fight to get open looks. In fact, his two games of seven made shots from beyond the arc in these playoffs is more than the last two playoffs combined. While it is unfair to expect such greatness on an every-night basis, the Warriors will be in desperate need of his hot-shooting.
If his Game 5 performance is any indication of what is to come, then the Raptors should be very weary of "Game 6 Klay".
Draymond Green's scoring
If the Warriors are to win the next two games, a lot will be decided on the defensive end, led by Draymond Green. He has been dominant as always on that side of the ball, contesting shots, forcing turnovers and collecting rebounds.
On the offensive end, Draymond has been the primary playmaker when the ball is forced out of Curry's hands. Green has constantly pushed the ball up the court to create transition offense, and has spread the ball around to open Warriors. With Durant out, however, the Warriors have desperately needed more scoring, and Green has also stepped up in that regard.
In the playoffs, Green has nearly doubled his scoring totals from the regular season, jumping from 7.4 points per game to 13.4, while shooting 50 percent from the field. During the regular season, the do-it-all forward scored in double-digits in 18 of 66 games played. So far this postseason, he has done so in 17 of 21 games played.
While his 3-point shot has left a lot to be desired, the Warriors should feel encouraged to see him hit a couple important shots from deep in Game 5. If the Warriors are to pull off this historic comeback, he will have to keep putting the ball in the hoop.