“We’re alive!”, Steph Curry was heard to say as he jogged through the tunnel to the visitors’ locker room after Game 5 of the Finals.
It is true. And so are the Dub Nation’s hopes for a third straight title, after a tense, hard-fought game came down to Kyle Lowry on the left wing in the final seconds, Raptors down one. He rose to take a jump shot that could have won the game, and the trophy, for the Canadian upstarts. But Draymond Green, who was lurking nearby, extended one long arm and brushed the ball, causing it to fall way short. The clock expired and the Warriors lived to fight another day.
This came after the W’s found themselves down 6 with three minutes to play. Toronto had all the momentum and their fans were starting to celebrate — prematurely, as it turned out. It was at this point that Raptors coach Nick Nurse chose to take a timeout — a decision that has been hotly debated all day today by those who care. He says that he wanted to give his team a rest, but he gave the Warriors one too, as well as a much-needed moment of calm amidst the frenzy.
After the timeout Klay Thompson hit a three to cut the lead in half, Steph made one to tie, and Klay nailed another for a three-point advantage. DeMarcus Cousins goaltended a Lowry layup, bringing the Raps to within one, and was called for an offensive foul call on the subsequent possession. Which brings us to where we came in.
All this took place against a background of angst over the fate of Kevin Durant, who had been in the starting lineup for the first time since Game 5 of the Conference Semifinals. After starting strong, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes including three 3-pointers, KD made one false move and went down grabbing his right calf. He limped off the floor and was next seen in crutches.
Word is that he may have torn his Achilles tendon, which is just about the worst thing that can happen to a basketball player, especially one who is heading into free agency. (Just ask Cousins, an All-Star who found no takers in free agency after his injury, and signed with the W’s for chump change.) All for 12 minutes of play.
But those 12 minutes gave his team a boost, and could end up having turned the tide of the series. We’ll see. Game 6 is on Thursday in Oakland.