Given how competitive the four previous games of this series between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets has been, both teams needed the most from every player, especially the starters.
However, the two-time reigning champions had to try to win Game 5 with Kevin Durant, their best player this postseason, in the locker room for the last 14:05 minutes of the game.
Kevin Durant goes to the locker room after suffering an apparent non-contact injury on lower leg pic.twitter.com/JCLv3szwz8- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 9, 2019
To make matters worse, up until KD's injury, Stephen Curry, the team's other MVP, was struggling.
Once Durant limped off with a right calf strain, something clicked. Curry seemed to have found his groove once again as he carried the shorthanded Warriors in the fourth quarter, and eventually to a pivotal Game 5 victory, scoring 12 of his 25 points in the period.
"I don't know if you're a soccer fan," Kerr said. "Liverpool yesterday came out with just one of the great wins in soccer history. After the match, their manager Jurgen Klopp said … the young kids in Liverpool are probably asleep right now, so I'm just going to go ahead and say it, our boys are f-king giants. That's what he said.
Seconds later, Kerr apologized to his mom for the language but emphasized the point he was trying to make:
"I know how he feels. I apologise to my Mom who's probably watching, but our guys are f-king giants,. Like that was an unbelievable victory tonight."
Throughout his post-game press conference, Kerr heaped praise on his players on how they grinded out that final period for the win:
"It was such a weird game because we played so well in that second quarter. Probably should have gone in at half up 20 or more. We missed a bunch of shots at the end of the second quarter, open 3's, and then I made a mistake not taking Draymond [Green] out of the game on that last play... he picks up his third foul.
"All of a sudden, they start the third quarter strong and it's a game again. It felt like it was slipping away. I think our guys just..... they have been here so many times, been through these battles for the last five years and they got a lot of guts. They just pulled together and got it done. There was no speech necessary, they knew what they had to do."
The Warriors outscored the Rockets 32-27 in the final period, winning Game 5 104-99 to take a 3-2 series lead.
On Friday, the Dubs will look to wrap up the series in Houston and make it to their fifth straight Western Conference Finals.