Golden State Warriors Lose Durant, Survive in Toronto to Force a Game 6
For the majority of the Finals, we have lamented the resiliency of the Toronto Raptors.
The tough-mindedness and the maturity that they showed in the face of adversity. Throughout the post-season, it has been all business for the Raptors as they took care of everything that has been placed in front of them.
On Monday night, the same resiliency that we have seen in the Raptors for the past month was displayed by the reigning NBA champion. After losing both Kevin Durant and Kevon Looney, more than likely, for the rest of the series, the Golden State Warriors continued to claw and as the Raptors took a six point lead late in the contest, the champs refused to fold. Breaking the hearts of a nation, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry shot the Warriors back into the game, reclaiming the lead, which they have held for the majority of the game.
As the Warriors did a phenomenal job of trapping Kawhi Leonard on the final possession of the basketball game, the ball swung into Kyle Lowry’s hands who was unable to hit the game-winner after receiving stout defensive pressure from Draymond Green.
“They got off way too many threes,” said Lowry following the game, pointing out the reason for the Raptors downfall. “For guys like them, they’re going to make – you give them that many threes, they’re going to make some.”
The Warriors were scorching hot from the three-point line all night, cashing in an NBA finals record 20 shots from distance. Led by The Splash Brothers, Curry finished with 31 points, while his backcourt made Thompson poured in 26 points.
KAWHI 'BUCKETS' LEONARD pic.twitter.com/r0c5037U4a
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 11, 2019
“I would say it takes a lot to beat this (Golden State) team, and that took a hell of a lot of blows and a heck of a lot of balls bouncing the wrong way in the last couple minutes for us to come out on the wrong side of it tonight,” Raptors Head coach Nick Nurse said.
“But I’m super proud of the guys. Man, they played their guts out, kept on fighting and put themselves in position to win it.”
After out-coaching Steve Kerr for the majority of the series, Nurse received criticism for his decision to call an ill-advised timeout when the scorching Raptors took a six point lead late. Nurse would later fail to call a timeout to draw up a game-winning play on the final possession of the contest, spelling a 106-105 loss for the home team.
“We didn’t take a timeout there on that last play, right, but we let them play and Kawhi had it and they doubled him, and he moved it to Fred (VanVleet), and moved it to Kyle, and we just didn’t quite have enough space there,” Nurse said. “I thought it looked like it was going to be a really good shot, an open corner three, but I didn’t see who got out there and got a piece of it. But again, I was confident we would come down and play and make the right decisions and get a good shot. I have a lot of faith in those guys.”
Nevertheless, while the timeout management wasn’t ideal, the Raptors lost this game for their inability to hit shots for the majority of the night. Outside of being bailed out late by Leonard and Lowry, the Raptors quite frankly had done nothing to warrant themselves being placed in a position to win in Game 5. Shooting 8-for-32 from long range (25-percent), the Raptors struggled to hit shots all game, yet somehow clawed back to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
“They came back and made three straight threes” Lowry said. “(We) played some good defence down the stretch. We just missed some shots and they did what they were supposed to do.”
The Raptors will now have a chance, once again, to close this series out at The Oracle.
Already losing two games at home, it will take a gigantic effort to end this series in the Bay area. That being said, stranger things have happened and the Warriors will now be without Durant, who played incredibly before being forced to leave the game after he appeared to have torn his Achilles tendon.
Gotta love Bob Myers. This isn’t business. This isn’t sports. This is a man with a true appreciation and care for another man. This is what it’s all about. pic.twitter.com/PAR1vitJCS
— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 11, 2019
“I don’t think the fans knew the significance of the injury. They kind of just seen he went down,” commented Lowry on the Raptors fans cheering as they watched Durant go down. “In this league we’re all brothers. At the end of the day, we’re all brothers and it’s a small brotherhood and you never want to see a competitor like him go down.”
The Raptors are not in trouble yet, but Game 5 proved that they are human as it seemed as though the Warriors have broken through the stoic persona that Toronto has built over the postseason. The Raptors steal lead the series 3-2 and all that is left from here on out, is to take care of business one last time.