In an emotional battle, the Golden State Warriors kept their hopes of a 3-peat alive with a late-game rally to take a 106-105 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5.
Now, as the Finals shift back to The Bay, the Warriors will again look to extend the series. Can Golden State ride its momentum to force a decisive Game 7 or will Toronto bounce back and win the first title in franchise history?
Golden State’s All-Star forward Kevin Durant’s triumphant return from a calf injury was cut short as he suffered an Achilles injury after playing in just 12 minutes. In his absence, a visibly shaken Warriors team rallied together to lead by as many as 14 points in the second half.
Still, the Raptors found a way to respond within the game.
Toronto used a second-half rally of its own to lead by six points with under three minutes remaining and all signs indicated that it would capture the title, but the lead slipped away as the Warriors used a late 9-0 run to take the lead for good with under a minute remaining.
With each team experiencing heartbreak in Game 5, all eyes will be on the emotional response in Game 6.
The Warriors will again look to rally together and play for their teammate, who is reported to have suffered a very serious injury. In addition to Durant’s absence, Game 6 will be the final game played at Oracle Arena, and the emotions of wanting to give their home fans one final win will also fuel this team.
For the Raptors, the bitter taste of coming so close to a championship without winning is an emotionally taxing experience. Fortunately for them, they are still in command as they have yet another opportunity to close the series out.
Throughout the postseason, Toronto has not gotten too high nor too low, but the emotions from letting Game 5 slip away could be spun as a positive as fuel to take Game 6.