Warriors Lose Durant Again but Stay Alive in Game 5
TORONTO — The Warriors and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant both proved their championship mettle in Game 5 on Monday night at Scotiabank Arena, but only Durant’s teammates will go on to play in Game 6 on Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Durant suffered an Achilles tendon injury in the second quarter, but his teammates rallied from a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit for a 106-105 victory to extend the series.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 57 points, including a trio of threes in a 9-2 run to end the game. The Raptors had a chance to win Canada’s first NBA title on the final play, but the Warriors forced Kawhi Leonard to give up the ball, and Kyle Lowry’s attempted buzzer-beater was partially blocked by the Warriors’ Draymond Green.
The victory left the Warriors trailing 3-2 in the series but still alive as they head home to Oracle Arena for the final game there before they move to a new arena in San Francisco next season.
“I just told the team I don’t know what to say because, on the one hand, I’m so proud of them, just the amazing grit and heart they showed,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “On the other, I’m just devastated for Kevin. So it’s a bizarre feeling that we all have right now.
“An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time.”
Through three quarters, Leonard had just 14 points and had shot 4-for-15, but he scored 10 straight points at the end of a 12-2 Raptors run to take control with a 103-97 lead with 3:28 left. But that’s when the Warriors dug in on defense to get four straight stops and retake the lead before a Lowry layup cut their lead to one point at 106-105 with 29.9 seconds left.
The Warriors turned it over to give the Raptors one last chance. Leonard was double-teamed and passed to Fred VanVleet, who dished to Lowry in the deep left corner. Lowry said it felt good when it left his hand, but Green arrived in time to deflect it.
“Draymond got a piece of it,” Lowry said. “He blocked it … That’s what great defenders do.”
The Warriors led by as much as 14 points in the third quarter, but it all got away when Leonard heated up in the fourth. Curry tied the game with 1:22 left, and then Thompson, who was 7-for-13 from three-point range, buried another with 57.6 seconds left to regain a 106-103 lead.
“Coach Kerr drew up a couple of great sets, and me and Steph just got clean looks,” Thompson said. “You don’t want to give us too many of those because they will go in most of the time.”
Curry topped the Warriors with 31, Thompson had 26, and DeMarcus Cousins came off the bench after Durant’s injury to contribute 14 points and six rebounds. The Warriors made 20 of 42 three-pointers (47.6 percent).
Leonard finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Lowry added 18, and Marc Gasol totaled 17 plus eight rebounds for the Raptors.
Kerr announced before the game that Durant would start, and his early impact was beyond anything that could have been expected after such a long absence. He nailed all three of his three-point attempts and totaled 11 points as the Warriors took a 34-28 first-quarter lead.
But early in the second quarter, misfortune struck the Warriors when Durant went down.
“For him to put his health on the line to come back and compete at the highest level, he’s one of the best to ever do it, and we were trying to win this for him,” Thompson said. “That’s our brother, and to be honest, it’s very deflating. It’s hard to even celebrate this win.”