For the first time since 2016, we have a Game 6 in the NBA Finals. The series between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors returns to Oakland on Thursday night with the Dubs as 2.5-point favorites as they look to even things up at 3-3. If they do, Game 7 would be back in Toronto on Sunday night.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
There are almost too many storylines to talk about in the wake of a dramatic Game 5. It all starts with Kevin Durant. He finally returned from a calf injury suffered in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals and looked terrific in scoring 11 points (3-for-3 from deep) in 12 minutes. The Warriors’ offense was at a different level with KD in the lineup and it was easy to see the Dubs all of sudden rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to win their third straight NBA title.
However, Durant went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon in the second quarter without contact, which not only ends his NBA Finals and potentially his Warriors career but also puts his 2019/20 season in jeopardy. Oh, and it changes this summer’s free-agent market in a big way. Obviously, the thinking now is that Durant returned too soon from his calf injury and that led to the Achilles injury. It was heartbreaking to watch, even if you root against the Warriors.
Durant’s All-Star teammates, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, stepped up without him in combining for 57 points (their third-most combined in an NBA Finals game) and assisting or scoring on 77 of the Warriors’ 106 points in the one-point Game 5 victory. The Dubs were down six with about three minutes left but ended the game on a 9-2 run – two three-pointers by Thompson and one by Curry – after a perplexing timeout by Raptors coach Nick Nurse.
Toronto had a chance to win in the final seconds, but the Warriors double-teamed superstar Kawhi Leonard as they weren’t about to allow him to get off a shot. Instead, Kyle Lowry took a corner three-pointer at the buzzer that was partially blocked by Draymond Green. It’s a cliché, but the Warriors played with a champions’ heart – especially after that utterly deflating Durant injury.
To add more drama to this series, Thursday is the Warriors’ last-ever game in Oakland’s Oracle Arena as they are moving across the bay to a new billion-dollar arena in San Francisco. Golden State is 0-3 at home against Toronto this year including the lone regular-season meeting.