Warriors stay alive
Survive Raptors with just a point in Game 5, but lose KD anew to injury
TORONTO — The Golden State Warriors aren’t letting go of the NBA title just yet.
Stephen Curry scored 31 points, Klay Thompson added 26 and they led a season-saving surge that gave the Warriors a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
The Splash Brothers combined for three straight 3-pointers in the closing minutes after Toronto had taken a sixpoint lead with under 3½ minutes remaining in front of a raucous, redshirted crowd.
“They’re amazing. They’re amazing competitors, great shooters,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
The Warriors lost Kevin Durant barely a quarter after getting him back but got the win, cutting Toronto’s lead to 3-2 and sending the series back to Oracle Arena for Game 6 on Thursday.
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points for the Raptors but couldn’t get the final shot, which went to Kyle Lowry and was blocked by Draymond Green.
The two-time defending champion Warriors were minutes away from their title reign ending, having lost Durant and a 14-point lead during an emotionally exhausting game. They had controlled Leonard for three quarters, but he scored 10 straight Toronto points in the fourth and the Raptors were close to their first championship and a celebration that would have stretched coast to coast in Canada.
But even after everything the Warriors had lost, they still had two of the best perimeter shooters in the world on the floor. Thompson hit a 3, and Curry followed with one to tie it at 103. Golden State got it back to Thompson and the Raptors lost sight of him just long enough for the tiebreaking shot with 57 seconds to go.
Toronto cut it to one when Kyle Lowry was credited with a basket and the Raptors got a final chance when DeMarcus Cousins was called for an illegal screen. Leonard had the ball but the Warriors forced him to pass and it ended up in the corner to Lowry, who was way off as the buzzer sounded.
Cousins had 14 points for the Warriors and Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Golden State is the only team to lose a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, when Cleveland came back to win in 2016.
Now the Warriors have a chance to pull off the feat themselves, but it
to have held all four majors in two different seasons. But it was not meant to be. Nadal nabbing his recordextending 12th French Open gave him a total of 18 Slams, just two short now of Roger Federer’s 20.
There’s the US Open and Wimbledon left for 2019.
They’re still months away but if Nadal is being tipped this early to win both, swell. But first, let the King of Clay savor his moment. He earned it—again.
Segue to Toronto’s titleclinching bid on Tuesday.
It must happen or the Raptors might find themselves in dire straits after a Game 5 loss.
A return to Oakland for Game 6 could give the Warriors the push to level it at 3-3 and, God knows, what will happen next in a Game 7? Anybody’s ballgame.
Everything’s going Toronto’s way with its 3-1 edge as 33 previous teams ahead by 3-1 went on to win.
Only in 2016 did a team down 1-3 rally to prevail 4-3: Cleveland over, yes, Golden State.
Will history repeat itself? Let’s see.
STEPHEN Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Toronto Raptors in the second half during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Getty Images)