There will be one more NBA Finals matchup at Oracle Arena after all.
After dropping Games 3 and 4 at home, the Warriors gutted out a 106-105 win in Game 5 to ensure one more game in Oakland.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 57 points to lead Golden State. The duo went 12-for-27 from behind the arc, including three consecutive triples to close out the game.
Kevin Durant returned to the floor for Golden State after missing more than a month due to a calf injury. He started off 3-for-5 from the floor with all his makes coming from behind the arc, and his presence allowed Curry and Thompson to have more air space, resulting in the Warriors starting 5-for-5 from deep.
But Durant suffered an injury in the second quarter, resulting in him leaving the game. After Golden State’s win, Warriors GM Bob Myers confirmed that the forward had an Achilles injury, ending Durant’s postseason.
“On the one hand, I’m so proud of them, on the other, I’m just devastated for Kevin,” Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr told reporters after Game 5. “It’s a bizarre feeling that we all have right now. An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time.”
Kawhi Leonard, who scored 26 points, led the Raptors back in the fourth quarter. He rattled off 10 straight points to give the Raptors a 103-97 lead with 3:28 remaining. Toronto gained possession off a missed 3-pointer from Curry before head coach Nick Nurse called two timeouts, seemingly stopping his team’s momentum.
“We had two free ones that you lose under the 3 minute mark and we just came across and just decided to give those guys a rest,” Nurse told reporters after the game. “We had back-to-back ones there that we would’ve lost under the 3 minute mark and just thought we could use the extra energy push.”
Behind Thompson and Curry, the Warriors went on a 9-0 run following the break. The two exchanged triples on back-to-back possessions before Thompson hit what would be the game-winning shot.
“Me and Steph just got clean looks and you don’t want to give us too many of those because they’ll go in most of the time,” Thompson remarked.
“I’ve seen it an awful lot,” Kerr said regarding his backcourt’s heroics.
“Doesn’t happen every night, but it seems to happen most nights. They’re amazing.”
Despite coming back from a six-point deficit, Golden State nearly squandered the game, as Draymond Green committed a backcourt violation leading to Kyle Lowry getting a layup, which cut the lead to one.
DeMarcus Cousins was then whistled for a moving screen, giving the Raptors the final possession. Lowry got an open look in the corner after the Warriors doubled Leonard to force the ball out of his hands, but Green recovered to impact Lowry’s shot, redeeming himself for his earlier gaffe.
After an emotional scene with Durant leaving the floor and the Raptors grabbing a late lead, the Warriors maintained their composure and relied on their historic backcourt.
“I’ve seen it over and over again, so it’s not really surprising. This is who they are,” Kerr said. “They’ve accomplished so much over the years, that doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t just happen with talent, there has to be more that goes into it. It’s that fight, that competitive desire, that ability to stay poised under pressure. It was brilliant to watch.”
The NBA Finals now head back to Oakland where the Warriors will play the final game ever at Oracle Arena. They won’t be able to celebrate a championship in the building, but they can move one step closer to becoming the second team to ever come back from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit.
“Our goal was to get them (Toronto) back on the plane, get them back to Oakland,” Thompson said.
“We owe our fans one more game in Oracle.”