In his return to the basketball court from a right calf injury, Kevin Durant went down on that same leg early in the second quarter of game five of the Finals. Warriors president Bob Myers said Durant injured his Achilles, and he was sporting a walking boot on his way out of the arena.
The Warriors are now heading into game six without one of the game’s best talents. This time there is no "if" on whether Durant will play.
The odds were already against the Warriors after dropping both games three and four on their home court, giving them a 3-1 deficit. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you know the history of such a deficit, which has only ever been overcome by the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 against none other than the Durant-less Warriors.
In 34 previous instances, a 3-1 deficit has only been overcome one time in the Finals. However, I think this Warriors team will be the second to do it.
The Warriors were able to inch their way closer and pick up a 106-105 victory in Toronto in game five, and again, Toronto Raptors Coach Nick Nurse is much to blame for this loss.
This win forced game six, which will be the last game the Warriors ever play in Oracle Arena. With their homecourt rocking and Klay Thompson back to near 100% from a hamstring injury, the Warriors are in prime position to force a game seven.
Kawhi Leonard is in the middle of a historic playoff run for the Raptors and they have one of the most talented starting lineups in the NBA, but that game five performance breathed life back into the beat-up Warriors.
Throughout this series, Nurse has made some horrible decisions that have already cost them the opportunity to close it out. With just over three minutes left in game five, and Leonard dominating the Warriors on the offensive end, Nurse decided to call a timeout and slow the Raptors momentum. This blunder allowed the Warriors to regroup and overcome the six-point deficit they had at the time.
The Warriors had no business winning game five and should’ve been out of this series a long time ago, but considering how this team has fought and their experience in the finals, I’ll take them to win in seven.
While the core players from 2016, the year before Durant joined, are still with the Warriors in no way is this the same team that won 73 games in the regular season. They’ve gotten older and the injury bug is starting to work against them.
That being said, the Warriors roster is full of champions. Aside from Leonard and Danny Green, you can’t say that about anyone on this Raptors team. Kyle Lowry has been historically awful in the playoffs with the Raptors, Marc Gasol hasn’t been past the Conference semifinals since 2013 and has never been to a finals, and this is the first year that Pascal Siakam has played a major role for the Raptors.
The Raptors have the better roster but their inexperience this deep in the playoffs is showing. I don’t see the Warriors losing game six in their last game at Oracle, and I’ll take the three-time champions in a deciding game seven even away from home.
They don't call them Dub Nation for nothing. The Warriors will win this series.
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