TORONTO — With their championship at stake and with Kevin Durant exiting early with an Achilles injury, the Splash Brothers rescued the Golden State Warriors from elimination by nailing back-to-back-to-back threes en route to a 106-105 win in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night (Tuesday morning RP time) at the Scotiabank Arena.
With the Warriors down 103-97 with 3:08 left in the fourth quarter, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson orchestrated a 9-2 finishing kick to turn the tables on the Toronto Raptors, who were on the verge of winning their first-ever NBA title.
Curry finished with 31 points while Thompson ended up with 26 points as the All-Star duo combined for 12-of-27 from 3-point range. DeMarcus Cousins added 14 points in relief play while Draymond Green bounced back from a sub-par Game 4 performance and logged 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Prior to being injured at the 9:50 mark of the second quarter, Durant was putting together a magnificent performance with 11 points in 12 minutes while hitting all three of his 3-point attempts.
“We made a lot of different statements over the course of these five years. Win or lose, I don’t feel like we need to prove anything anymore. It’s just about can we got the job or not,” Curry told reporters after Golden State trimmed the series deficit to 3-2 with a chance to even things up with Game 6 at the Oracle Arena on Friday morning (Philippines time).
After a slow start, Kawhi Leonard emerged as the Raptors’ leading scorer with 26 points on 9-of-24 shooting. He also had 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks in 41 minutes.
The Raptors fell behind 77-63 with 5:46 left in the third period before closing in at 84-78 entering the final stanza. Leonard’s personal 10-0 run late shoved Toronto ahead, 103-97, with 3:03 to go, but the couldn’t put away the resilient two-time defending champions.
Kyle Lowry had a strong effort for Toronto with 18 points and six dimes, but his potential championship winning corner 3 was partially blocked by Green as time expired. Marc Gasol had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Raptors while Serge Ibaka chipped in 15 off the bench.
Asked how his team would react after such deflating loss, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said “We don’t really have much choice, and I think that our team has reacted all year long great to bad losses, and I would say it takes a lot to beat this time, and that took a lot of blows and a heck of a lot of balls bouncing the wrong way in the last couple of minutes for us to come out on the wrong side tonight.”
FASTBREAK. The Warriors converted 20 triples in Game 5, the second-highest total in an NBA Finals game. The record is 24 set by the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Warriors on June 9, 2017.
With their championship at stake, the Warriors shot 46.3 percent from the field (38 of 82) and 20 of 42 from three-land. Golden State also sank 10 of 14 free throws.
The Raptors, meanwhile, swished just 38 of 85 shots (44.7 percent) and 8-of-32 triples (25 percent).
After picking up another technical foul in Game 5, Draymond Green’s total is now six, one more away from being suspended for a game.