Having taken a 3-1 series lead following Game 4, the stage was set for the Toronto Raptors as they hosted the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. A win for the home team and Toronto would celebrate the franchise’s first-ever championship.
In contrast, a win for the Warriors would help them keep their championship aspirations alive. The one factor the Dubs had going for them was the fact that Kevin Durant was back in the lineup. And with KD back in the mix, the Warriors jumped out to a 34-28 lead after the first 12 minutes.
Durant had 11 points and knocked down all three of his attempts from downtown. This initial outburst had to have the Raptors wondering if they could beat the Warriors in Game 5.
Consequently, Durant’s return would be short-lived as the two-time MVP sustained a lower leg injury in the second quarter. Later on, it turned out to be his Achilles tendon! As a result, he left the game for good with the Warriors leading by a 39-34 margin. But in spite of Durant’s absence, the Warriors took a lead into intermission for the second straight game. And Toronto didn’t help their cause any by shooting a woeful 2-for-12 from beyond the arc.
As the Warriors have done so many times during their championship runs, they turned it up in the third quarter and led by as many as 13 points. However, the Raptors didn’t fold and eventually played the defending champions to a 22-22 stalemate in the third frame.
Fast forwarding to the waning moments of the fourth quarter, the Raptors had taken a 103-97 lead with 2:30 left to play. But with their season on the line, the Warriors responded with nine straight points to take a 106-103 lead.
Then, the Raptors responded with a basket and had a chance to win on the game’s final possession. However, the Warriors’ defense stifled Kawhi Leonard and kept him from getting up a shot. As a result, Lowry was forced to take the final shot and missed badly from the left corner.
When it was all said and done, the Warriors beat the Raptors 106-105 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Even more importantly, the Dubs extend the series to a sixth game. Stephen Curry (31 points) and Klay Thompson (27 points) led the Warriors with a combined 57 points. Additionally, the Splash Brothers combined for 12 of the Warriors’ 20 3-point field goals.
Meanwhile, the Raptors placed six players in double figures. Leonard paced the Raptors scoring with 26 points and 12 rebounds. However, he shot just 9-for-24 from the field. Now that the Warriors have beaten the Raptors in Game 5, the series shifts back to Oakland for Game 6.
Sure, KD is more than likely done for the rest of the series. On the other hand, the Warriors have new life. And after winning an elimination game on the road, they have every reason to believe they will be able to do the same in Game 6.