TORONTO — Canada came for a coronation and left, inexplicably, with a headache.
The Golden State Warriors staved off elimination by beating the Toronto Raptors, 106-105, on Monday, withstanding the loss of Kevin Durant and a brilliant fourth-quarter push from Kawhi Leonard to claim Game 5 and cut the Raptors’ NBA Finals lead to 3-2.
The defending champs left the court in joyous disbelief after pulling off a late-game caper for the ages. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to make 12 three-pointers, including three in the final three minutes.
But a night that ended with stunned silence at Scotiabank Arena ran the full gamut of emotions.
“An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said.
For a quarter, Durant provided the emotional and talent boosts that the Warriors have so badly needed in this series. The all-star forward, playing for the first time in a month after suffering a right calf strain, swished his first two three-pointers, blocked Pascal Siakam in transition and helped stake Golden State to an 8-2 lead. Looking loose and emboldened, the Warriors drilled their first five three-pointers, and Curry enjoyed Durant’s space-creating impact by slicing to the basket for a pair of early layups.
But Durant’s potentially series-altering comeback quickly dissolved into a valiant but tragic cameo. Early in the second quarter, he struggled to burst past Siakam near midcourt. A minute later, he tried again to accelerate off the dribble past Serge Ibaka — only to come up lame and fall to the court holding his lower right leg.
There was no question it was a serious setback as he walked gingerly to the locker room with Curry and Andre Iguodala providing emotional support. After brief cheers in the moments following his injury, the crowd chanted “KD!” as he departed for good with 11 points and two rebounds in 12 minutes. The two-time Finals MVP left the arena on crutches while wearing a boot before the fourth quarter.
Warriors General Manager Bob Myers, choking back tears, said during a postgame news conference that Durant had suffered an Achilles’ injury.
“He was cleared to play tonight,” Myers said. “That was a collaborative decision. I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame. I understand this world; if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department.
“Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people who questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team are wrong. He’s one of the most misunderstood people. He’s a good teammate and good person. It’s not fair.”
The Warriors built a 13-point lead in the aftermath of Durant’s departure, but the Raptors whittled it to six by halftime and finally took the lead during a frantic fourth-quarter push led by Leonard. While Toronto missed 16 of its first 19 three-point attempts, Leonard hit four straight jumpers — including a pair of three-pointers — to seemingly set up the first title in the Raptors’ 24-year history.
Toronto has excelled at outlasting opponents all postseason long, but Golden State responded with perimeter heroics of its own: Thompson hit a three-pointer, Curry hit another, and then Thompson hit a third to shock the home crowd and give the champs a 106-103 lead with less than a minute remaining.
Even then, they weren’t home free. A Kyle Lowry layup and a Golden State over-and-back violation gave Toronto a chance to win at the buzzer. The Raptors could muster only a Lowry three-pointer from the corner, which missed badly.
“Draymond [Green] got a piece of it,” Lowry said. “I’m not going to miss it behind [the hoop]. It felt great out of my hands. He got a piece of it. That’s what great defenders do.”
Curry finished with a game-high 31 points and sprinted off the court in joyous disbelief. Thompson added 26, including seven three-pointers. Leonard, who had a team-high 26 points, went scoreless in the final three minutes and missed multiple potential daggers.
By winning, Golden State forced Game 6 at Oracle Arena on Thursday. With Durant probably lost for the series, the Warriors still need to conjure two more miracles to secure another title. After their latest and greatest escape, suddenly anything seems possible.
“I’m hurting deep in the soul right now, I can’t lie,” Durant wrote on Instagram shortly after the game. “But seeing my brothers get this win was like taking a shot of tequila. I got new life.”
Highlights and quarter-by-quarter recaps
Golden State, which had fallen in a 3-1 hole in the best-of-seven series, won 106-105 on the road Monday to force a return to Oakland, Calif., for Thursday’s Game 6. The Warriors are seeking a fourth title in five years. Toronto remains one win away from the first championship in franchise history.
After Kevin Durant went down with an injury in the second quarter, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson stepped up. Curry had 31 and Thompson had 26. Draymond Green contributed 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
A late run from Kawhi Leonard made a Raptors win look inevitable, until it wasn’t. He finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds but passed on the last possession. A moving screen on DeMarcus Cousins gave the Raptors a final shot with 15.7 seconds left. It was a one-point game. Kyle Lowry, excellent all night with 18 points and six assists, missed badly.
Check out these spikes.
The Warriors certainly won’t go easy. They won Game 5 with resilience. After Leonard’s run, Curry and Thompson hit back-to-back-to-back threes in the final two minutes to get the Warriors a fresh lead.
Leonard, of course, stepped up again. After playing from behind, the Raptors finally reclaimed the lead, which they had only held for 32 seconds throughout the game, with about five minutes to go. He hit back-to-back threes and added a jumper down the stretch.
For most of the fourth, Golden State continued to answer every Toronto push. The lead was still down to one with about seven minutes to go. Lowry started the fourth strong.
For the Warriors, the reserves showed up.
Third quarter: Warriors 84, Raptors 78
Three-pointers and the Warriors’ remaining stars have kept them ahead in Kevin Durant’s absence. Stephen Curry had 26, Klay Thompson scored 20 and Golden State as a team was shooting 15 for 32 from distance. The Raptors were a mere 5 for 24 from three, but they had five players in double-digits after three quarters and kept nipping at the Warriors’ heels.
Midway through the third, Durant was announced as out for the game with a lower right leg injury. He will have an MRI tomorrow, according to the team.
More bad injury news for the Warriors: Durant’s teammate Kevon Looney has been noticeably grimacing after a fall. He was initially ruled out of this series with a rib injury. He was later ruled out for the game, as well.
Five quick points to start the third nudged the Warriors’ lead back to double digits. The Raptors countered with a run to trim the deficit to three, but Golden State scored eight straight to rally once again. At this point, the Warriors had hit 14 threes to the Raptors’ three.
Fred VanVleet then had two threes from the same spot to edge closer. It was a 10-0 run for Toronto before a Klay Thompson three. Again, Golden State countered.
Second quarter: Warriors 62, Raptors 56
Kevin Durant left the game with an apparent injury, but the Warriors didn’t slip — at least not right away. A late 12-3 Toronto run made it a game, but Golden State kept the advantage. At the half, Stephen Curry led the way with 23 points and DeMarcus Cousins provided a second-quarter lift with nine points and five rebounds. Marc Gasol and Kawhi Leonard headed up the Raptors with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Pascal Siakam added 10.
At the 9:46 mark of the second, Durant went to the locker room with assistance after injuring his right leg on a Serge Ibaka steal. Some Toronto fans cheered the injury, which upset Golden State players. In an unusual move, Ibaka and his teammates implored the crowd to stop. Durant was still being evaluated in the locker room at halftime. He had 11 points in 12 minutes.
After Durant exited, the Warriors surprisingly maintained a solid lead: Cousins scored seven straight points in just over a minute. He didn’t play in the first, after starting the last three games.
Draymond Green picked up his third foul and a tech, though.
During the quarter break, the Raptors rolled out some royalty.
First quarter: Warriors 34, Raptors 28
After 32 days off, Kevin Durant couldn’t have asked for a much better start, hitting three threes and scoring 11 points in the first quarter. He played 10 of the 12 minutes and shot 3 for 4. His teammate Stephen Curry led all scorers with 14.
Meanwhile, a solid start for Marc Gasol, who had the first six Raptors points and 10 overall. An aggressive Gasol offensively tends to bode well for Toronto.
Something to keep an eye on: foul trouble. It hit both teams in the first as Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry of Toronto, and Durant, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green of Golden State all got hit with two. After one foul, Durant got into it with VanVleet.
Despite a ridiculously hot start for Golden State (57.9 percent in the quarter, 70 percent on threes), Toronto tied it up halfway through the first quarter on a Kawhi Leonard (six points but three turnovers) drive and-one. The Raptors took their first lead on the next possession with less than five minutes to go. The Warriors later reclaimed the lead and held it through the buzzer.
Stephen Curry seemingly shrugged off a rough Game 4, scoring the first five points for the Warriors then dishing to Durant for a three-pointer on his first attempt. As a team, Golden State hit five straight threes to open the game, two from Durant.
After a little intro, the crowd took control of the national anthem.
We are definitely back in Toronto.
Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady are still loved in the north.
It goes beyond that.
Kawhi called it as the Raptors went on the road.
This is what the Warriors have been waiting for.
This will be amazing.
Is Steve Kerr doing a Steph Curry impression here? Or has Curry been doing a Kerr impression all along?
Canada is hyped.
There were reports of people sleeping in the rain to get into the watch party.
NBA Finals Game 5: Warriors (1-3) at Raptors (3-1)
- DATE: Monday, June 10
- TIME: 9 p.m. Eastern
- LOCATION: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
- TV CHANNEL: ABC
- STREAMING: Watch ESPN
- INJURIES: Warriors (Kevin Durant, calf, game-time decision)
NBA Finals schedule
- Game 1 — May 30: at Raptors 118, Warriors 109
- Game 2 — June 2: Warriors 109, at Raptors 104
- Game 3 — June 5: Raptors 123, at Warriors 109
- Game 4 — June 7: Raptors 105, at Warriors 92
- Game 5 — June 10: Warriors 106, at Raptors 105
- Game 6 at Golden State: Thursday, June 13, 9 p.m. (ABC)
- Game 7 at Toronto (if necessary): Sunday, June 16, 8 p.m. (ABC)