BY THE TIME this sees print, two things could have happened – Golden State extended the series to a deciding Game 7 or Toronto recovered and finally won their first NBA title in 24 years of franchise existence.
Let’s get back to Game 5. Some people who had access to the Golden State Warriors reportedly witnessed Kevin Durant practicing a day before Game 5 and observed that things were not exactly looking good with the way KD went thru the session.
They then became doubtful of KD’s availability the following day and assumed that the team would let KD sit out the game.
Well, we’ve seen what happened and talks have it that had the Warriors been more careful with KD, he wouldn’t have been injured.
He underwent successful surgery a few days ago to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon and as per updates from the team, KD was “recovering well.”
In his IG message, he said the road to recovery had just started and appreciated the messages and support he received from everyone.
“I’m hurting deeply but I’m okay. Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on the quest for the three-peat.”
With KD out, Toronto’s chances of winning Game 5 had gotten better. But it was not meant to be. Kawhi Leonard made 10 straight points in two minutes that gave the Raptors’ a six-point lead with three minutes remaining in the game.
Kawhi and company looked dominant and the packed crowd at the Scotiabank Arena were in anticipated excitement of their first ever NBA title. Momentum was on Toronto’s side. Then it happened.
Coach Nick Nurse surprisingly called a timeout. When play was resumed, the Warriors splashed cold water on the Raptors with a 9-2 run in less than two minutes, starring of course the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, to win the game and spoil the inevitable Raptor celebration, and coming back home to Oakland for their last and final game at the Oracle Arena.
Workers at the Scotiabank Arena were reportedly rolling out the Larry O’Brien trophy at the hallway and preparing Toronto’s locker room, which was being lined with plastic sheets at almost the same time the Splash Brothers scored nine points in 95 seconds.
Kawhi was in the same situation in 2013. It was Game 6 of the Finals between San Antonio and Miami, with the Spurs ahead by five points with only a minute left. The Heat tied the game and forced an overtime and eventually won the game to force a deciding Game 7. Arena workers that time were also preparing the Spurs locker room for the anticipated post-game celebration.
Leonard and the Raptors have two games to avoid a repeating the ghosts of 2013. Game 5 was their biggest chance for the title until the time out happened.
Nick Nurse will forever be enshrined in coaching infamy unless his team recovers and win it all and only then, the boo-boo will be forgotten.
Golden State on the other hand, depleted lineup or not, have the championship pedigree and they’re more inspired for a three-peat to honor their injured teammate. And of course, let the betting continue./PN