The Warriors scored nine straight points in 55 late seconds and pulled out a dramatic 106-105 win in Toronto over the Raptors on Monday night, but paid a healthy price, losing both Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Kevon Looney (chest/collarbone) in the process. More on the injuries after the fourth quarter highlights…Follow me on Twitter here.
Kawhi Leonard scored 10 straight points for the Raptors in the fourth quarter, taking the Raptors from a 93-103 deficit to a 103-97 lead with just 3:05 remaining, giving the Raptors the first lead change in the fourth quarter in this entire series. At the time the Raptors took the lead, Kawhi was 5-of-7 in the fourth quarter, while the Warriors were just 5-of-14 from the field in the final quarter. But then the Durant-less Warriors turned it all around. Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer to pull the Dubs to within 103-100, then Stephen Curry tied it at 103-103 with a 3-pointer, which was followed by another Klay 3-pointer to give the Warriors nine straight points in 55 seconds, as well as a 106-103 lead. The Raptors got two more points off a controversial goal tend by DeMarcus Cousins against Kyle Lowry, and then Lowry missed a 3-pointer badly at the buzzer, facing tough defense from Draymond Green, giving the Warriors the one-point win.
That’s what happened in the fourth quarter. But what happened earlier in the game was a little disturbing. Kevin Durant finally made his return from calf injury after about a month off, and played very well in the first quarter on Monday night, but suffered an apparent Achilles injury and left the game early in the second quarter. We see players suffer injuries time and time again while overcompensating for another injury, and I’m guessing that’s what happened here. Durant was dealing with a serious calf injury, and left last night’s game with an Achilles issue, exiting the arena on crutches and in a walking boot. In my mind, he’s done for the Finals, and I’m just hoping he didn’t rupture the Achilles, which would put next season in jeopardy for the superstar. He’ll have an MRI on Tuesday, but early reports are that he probably tore his Achilles tendon.
Looney, who I didn’t really think we’d see again this season, made an appearance and aggravated his collarbone injury. He played 18 minutes and finished with four points and three rebounds, but it sounds like he plans on playing in Game 6 on Thursday night. With Durant almost definitely out for the rest of the Finals, having Looney on hand could be a key for the Warriors. So the fact his injury doesn’t seem all that serious (after he was initially ruled out for the Finals), is great news for GSW.
So here’s where we are. The Warriors will be playing behind an extremely fired up crowd on Thursday night in the final game in Oracle Arena history, and simply have to win to force a Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday. And while it might seem like the loss of Durant works in the Raptors’ favor, you have to think the Dubs’ troops are going to rally around him, and the last Oracle crowd ever is going to be in a total frenzy. And no, minority owner Mark Stevens won’t be there to beat up on Kyle Lowry and company. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure this thing going to go back to Toronto for Game 7. And while I really don’t have a dog in the fight, Stevens shoving Lowry, and Drake flailing his arms, giving back rubs to coaches, and ranting on the sidelines really don’t have any place in this series. It’s uncalled for and I could do without both of them. Drake should be watching the game from his seat and rooting for his team, as far as I’m concerned. Game 6 on Thursday night should be some serious must-see TV and I’ll be shocked if the Warriors don’t ‘win it for KD.’ And then anything can happen in Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday.
As for the numbers on Monday night: Durant finished with 11 points and three 3-pointers in just 12 minutes, Stephen Curry had 31 points, five 3-pointers, eight rebounds and seven assists in the win, Thompson scored 26 points with six rebounds, four assists, a steal and seven 3-pointers, and Draymond Green added 10 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, helping the Warriors extend the series. Andre Iguodala started, but was quiet with just five points on 2-of-7 shooting, but also had four blocks, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in the win, and DeMarcus Cousins came off the bench for 14 points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. With Durant and Looney hurting, Boogie is going to have to step up again in Games 6 and 7, and Iguodala will have to play well if the Warriors are going to win. And obviously, Curry, Thompson and Green are all going to have to bring their A Games for two more contests this season.
The Raptors got 26 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers from Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry added 18 points, four rebounds, six assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer on 8-of-16 shooting, and Marc Gasol came through with 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes, hitting 4-of-6 shots. Starter Pascal Siakam was quiet with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal on 6-of-15 shooting, and reserves Serge Ibaka (15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block) and Fred VanVleet (11 points, 3 3-pointers) came through off the bench. Danny Green struggled in this one, hitting just 2-of-7 shots and missing all four of his 3-pointers. Green will have to play better in Games 6 & 7.
Game 6 on Thursday should be an epic finale for the Oracle Arena crowd, and if the Warriors can hold serve, we should be set up for an incredible Game 7 on Sunday in Toronto. I just wish KD was going to be able to go in that one, but there’s almost no chance that will happen. He appears to be severely hurt. Either way, this series is far from over and the fact the Warriors were able to hang on for the one-point win in Toronto to force Game 6 is huge, and we could be in for one of the most exciting Finals finishes ever. And I can’t wait.
Get well, KD.