Golden State perennial All-Star forward Kevin Durant has been ruled out of Games 6 and 7 against Houston, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He has been diagnosed with a “mild calf strain.” The 30-year-old veteran is expected to be re-evaluated next week and could return if the Warriors advance to the Western Conference finals.
Durant, who is averaging an NBA-best 34.2 points per game during the playoffs, missed a jumper late in the third quarter of Wednesday’s 104-99 win over the Rockets. He landed without making any contact with Iman Shumpert, who had contested the shot attempt.
But as Durant started running back on defense, he immediately looked down at his lower leg as if he’d been hit. This reaction prompted many to speculate that he had torn his Achilles.
Durant gingerly hobbled to the locker room and didn’t return. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both drained critical 3-pointers at crunch time to lift Golden State to victory and a 3-2 series advantage. However, the Rockets took the cash as six-point underdogs to cover for the third straight time.
According to a tweet from The Athletic’s Golden State beat reporter Anthony Slater, Durant missed three regular-season games over the course of seven days when he sustained a strained calf last season.
Most books had Houston installed as a 7.5-point home favorite for Game 6 this morning. The number was down to seven by early this afternoon, while the total was 212.5 points. The Warriors were +275 on the money line.
Since Kerr took over as head coach, Golden State’s richest underdog spot during the playoffs has been +3.5. The Warriors have been underdogs of six points or more only six times during Kerr’s tenure, limping to a 1-5 spread record in those regular-season games.
Most books have had Golden State anywhere from a -140 to a -160 “chalk” to win the NBA Finals at various times during the playoffs. With Durant’s uncertain health even if his team advances, Sportsbook is now offering plus money on the Warriors as +130 favorites.
Milwaukee’s odds have been adjusted from +350 to +225. Houston, which had 8/1 odds going into Game 5, is now at +550. Toronto has moved from 12/1 to 7/1. The next-shortest odds to win it all at Sportsbook belong to Denver (16/1), Philadelphia (60/1) and Portland (60/1).
The updated series price is Golden St. -200 vs. Houston (+170).