Never underestimate the heart of a champion. The Golden State Warriors showed their championship mettle with a thrilling victory on Monday night, extending the series by at least one more game. The Dubs got a boost from the return of Kevin Durant, but that was short lived as he hobbled off the floor for the remainder of the series. The Toronto Raptors passed on their first chance to win the NBA Finals and they’ll look to wrap it up at Oracle Arena, where they have yet to lose this season, in Game 6 on Thursday.
- Date and Time: Thursday, June 13, 2019, 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
- Opening NBA Odds: Golden State -4.5, O/U 211
- Raptors vs. Warriors TV Coverage: ABC
The Warriors won the battle, but they may have lost the war. At least they’ll have to keep fighting without Durant, who went down with what some are reporting is a torn Achilles tendon. Having their roster intact for the first time in over a month when KD was given the green light just a few hours earlier Golden State came out firing and Durant was a big part. He drained all three triples he attempted and scored 11 points before tragedy struck.
The game takes a back seat to what Durant and the Warriors have in front of them. If the early diagnosis is confirmed, KD will spend months recovering. And the team will be questioned whether or not he should’ve played in the first place. The Dubs overcame the shock and used their other All-Stars to gut out the 106-105 win. After a tough shooting performance in Game 4, Stephen Curry hit five triples and scored 31 points.
Klay Thompson appears recovered from the hamstring issue that forced him out of Game 3 scoring 26 points and making 7 of 13 from deep. In all the Warriors made 20 three-pointers, 12 more than Toronto, and had just enough to stave elimination and force another game, which will definitely be the last at Oracle Arena.
With Durant out it’s up to Curry and Thompson to provide the offense, which has been the case over the previous nine games. But we saw the Raptors take advantage of KD’s absence by not allowing anyone else on the Warriors to beat them. You can’t completely shut down two of the best shooters in the game, so Steph and Klay will get their points. And Toronto can live with that. What the Raptors don’t need are guys like Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins, Shaun Livingston and Draymond Green going off. They haven’t yet, and if they can’t the Warriors will be in trouble. And the Raptors are a confident group playing on the road. They had the second-highest win total in the NBA during the regular season and they haven’t lost on Golden State’s homecourt this season.
Toronto pounded the Warriors by 20 during the regular season and posted double-digit wins in Games3 and 4. Look for the Raps to be more aggressive if they get the lead. They were timid down the stretch on Monday night allowing a six-point lead with a few minutes left to disappear. They also didn’t attack the Warriors on their final possession, instead settling for a long jumper by Kyle Lowry that was deflected. Led by Kawhi Leonard, the Raps again overcame a double-digit deficit. While the Warriors were on fire in the first half, Toronto never relented. They stayed calm and fought back, only to abandon everything with the game on the line.
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Just when it looked like Durant would swoop in and save the day, poof. He’s gone again. And that has to be more painful for the Warriors now that they have time to digest what happened. During the game players can’t let that affect them, and the Warriors didn’t. But now it’s certainly going to weigh on them. We saw Toronto get after Dubs without KD and losing Game 5 isn’t going to change their style. The Raps had good looks but struggled from deep, where the Dubs outscored them by 12. Better accuracy and no pressure of winning at home, along with no KD on the other side, should allow Toronto to escape with a win and the NBA title.
NBA Finals Score Prediction: Toronto 107, Golden State 103
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