2019-06-11 13:34:031 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Golden State Warriors Guard Klay Thompson drives to the basket. (Image Source: Claus Anderson/Getty Images)
With three minutes left, the Toronto Raptors held a 103-97 lead and had the ball. Behind an electric 10 points from Kawhi Leonard in less than two minutes the team from North of the Border flipped a four-point deficit into a six-point lead. Golden State Warriors guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson looked out of gas, while Kevin Durant was long gone from Game 5 with an injury.
It appeared the Raptors were on the brink of winning an NBA Championship.
Then the Warriors showed their championship mettle.
Following a Leonard miss which could have extended the lead to eight, Thompson drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to three. Splash.
The Warriors could have made it a one-point game if not for a questionable offensive goaltending call on DeMarcus Cousins off a missed Curry three.
A backcourt violation by Kyle Lowry gave the ball back to the Warriors and this time Curry didn’t miss from downtown. Tie game. Splash.
Curry pulled down a rebound as Leonard tried to answer from beyond the arc, which led to Thompson’s seventh three-pointer of Game 5. Splash.
A 9-0 run from the Splash Brothers over 1:35 put the defending champs ahead again. A lead they held onto when Lowry’s three from the corner missed widely, as the Warriors won Game 5 106-105.
Even if the Warriors fail to win their third title in three seasons and fourth in five years, this was a legendary NBA Finals comeback.
After the game, Curry’s thoughts were on his fallen teammate.
"Everybody gets so wrapped up in chasing championships and the greatness that you see on the floor, but life is more important in terms of caring about an individual and what they're going through," said Curry.
"I just feel so bad for him, to be honest. Nobody should have to go through something like that, especially with this stage that we have."
The Achilles injury suffered by Durant overshadows the effort by his teammates. Understandably so. An emotional general manager Bob Myers revealed after the game what everyone feared, that it’s an Achilles injury.
"I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand in this world and if you have to, you can blame me," Myers said as he fought back tears. "I don't have all the information on what really the extent of what it all means until we get a MRI, but the people that worked with him and cleared him are good people, they're good people."
It’s an amazing mix of emotions for Golden State, as they kept their season alive, but didn’t come out of Game 5 unscathed. Physically or emotionally.
"I just told the team I didn't know what to say, because on the one hand I'm so proud of them, just the amazing heart and grit that they showed, and on the other I'm just devastated for Kevin," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
"So, it's a bizarre feeling that we all have right now. An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time."
With Durant’s future unclear, the rest of the Warriors will be back on the hardwood in the final game at the Oracle Arena for Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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