© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
This was the Warriors’ last stand. The dynasty has already been cemented, but with a 3-1 series deficit, Game 5 provided a chance to define how that legacy would be interpreted. Would the Warriors go out quietly or throwing haymakers? The 106-105 win proved it was the latter.
Below are three thoughts from the Warriors’ Game 5 win:
Durant re-aggravates calf injury after hot start
When Durant went down again on Monday night, it felt like time stood still. It was a moment, much like when Derrick Rose tore his ACL or DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles, when you could feel a unified sense of dread with everyone else watching. It seemed that way for most people watching, except for those in Scotiabank Arena, who cheered Durant’s injury. The entire situation was nauseating to watch.
Durant is one of the greatest players in NBA history and arguably the best player in the league. To see him go down the way he did is not just disappointing as a person who enjoys great basketball, but it’s sad from a very human perspective. In his 12 minutes, Durant was fantastic. He had 11 points (3-of-3 from 3-pt), 2 rebounds and a block, spurring the Warriors on until this happened:
Durant goes down, leaves the court limping pic.twitter.com/n6yjdrfc2r
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 11, 2019
This angle is especially concerning and shows a ripple in Durant’s leg, which appears to almost certainly be a muscle in his leg snapping. Please watch at your own peril:
— ACL Recovery Club (@ACLrecoveryCLUB) June 11, 2019
Durant left the arena on crutches, accompanied by General Manager Bob Myers, Warriors Director of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Celebrini and his manager, Rich Kleiman. After the game, head coach Steve Kerr said the win was odd considering the injury.
“I’m just devastated for Kevin,” Kerr said. “It’s just a bizarre feeling.”
Durant leaving Scotiabank Arena on crutches pic.twitter.com/eccyf5bB8f
— Phil Barber (@Skinny_Post) June 11, 2019
Cousins comes in for Durant, Looney also leaves hurt
When Durant went down, Cousins, who looked like a man who had no business coming back from a quad tear as quickly as he did (in addition to the prolonged recovery that an Achilles tear requires). While he committed a late offensive foul (and was negated a putback dunk) that gave the Raptors a chance to win the game, he put on an outstanding, gutsy performance.
He came in with conviction, poise and efficiency like we hadn’t seen from him. He took advantages of mismatches in the post, and while he was beaten off the dribble by Kyle Lowry at least three times, he was a net positive for the Warriors like he was in Game 2. He managed to put up 14 points (6-of-8, 1-of-3 from 3-pt, 1-of-4 from FT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block and 2 turnovers in 20 minutes, and was absolutely crucial after Kevon Looney departed.
Looney again played through a broken collarbone, and as ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy said after Looney made a left-handed layup, “It doesn’t look like he can lift his right arm.”
After Looney made that layup (4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover), he was ruled out of the game with over eight minutes left. This came after the Warriors repeatedly stated that it was an injury Looney, “could not make any worse.” That proved to be woefully untrue.
Kevon Looney reaggravated his right 1st costal cartilage non-displaced fracture injury and will not return.
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) June 11, 2019
It’s not over, thanks the core’s defiance
Regardless of how this series ends (history is not on the Warriors’ side), this game will be remembered. It typified the Warriors’ almost spiteful, defiant attitude. If the Raptors were going to win this game, they were going to have to pry it from Golden State’s cold, dead hands.
It was close. If Kyle Lowry’s final shot went down, there would be a completely different conversation going on right now. Canada would be celebrating and the Warriors would be coming home without another game to play.
Instead, Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson put up the performances they needed to.
Curry finished with 31 points (10-of-23, 5-of-14 from 3-pt, 6-of-6 from FT), 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 turnovers, Thompson had 26 points (9-of-21, 7-of-13 from 3-pt, 1-of-2 from FT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 turnover, while Green finished with 10 points (4-of-9, 2-of-4 from 3-pt), 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and 2 turnovers. They’ll head home for a Game 6 at Oracle Arena on Thursday.