WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
Blakely: Durant’s (not-so-certain) future
The euphoria Golden State fans are feeling after they staved off elimination with a Game 5 win, is undercut by the utter disappointment that they and so many basketball fans are feeling after Kevin Durant’s short-lived return.
Having missed a month of the postseason due to a calf injury, Durant suffered what team officials are calling an Achilles injury.
While no timetable has been set (he’s due to have an MRI Tuesday), no one expects him back on the floor in this series.
The domino effect of his injury not only makes the Warriors’ efforts to come back in this series that much tougher, but it raises all sorts of issues throughout the league.
There’s plenty of time to discuss and re-discuss the impact of Durant’s injury on the NBA free agency landscape.
But for now, the focus should be on wishing one of the game’s all-time greats a speedy recovery so that he’ll be back to playing sooner rather than later, regardless of whether it’s in a Warriors uniform or elsewhere.
Forsberg: It's getting Hot in Herre
We’ve got a Nelly earworm this morning because “Heart of a Champion” is on repeat in our brains after watching the Warriors save their season at the end of Game 5 (and, to be fair, that song is pure fire if only because of John Tesh’s “Roundball Rock” theme looped throughout).
The Warriors should have been toast. Durant was injured, champagne was on ice for @champagnepapi (and the Raptors).
Instead, Steph Curry hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 82 seconds to go that had Raptors players cradling their heads on the sideline in disbelief. Klay Thompson did the Sam Cassel dance in the first half of Game 4 but should have saved it for his eventual game-winning 3-pointer with 58 seconds to go in Game 5. These Warriors got some crazy stones.
Of course, the win was tempered by the injury to Durant but, my gosh, in a vacuum that was an incredibly gutsy win by a team whose dynasty seemed ready to crumble. If only we could get rid of the Nelly earworm.
SO... THAT HAPPENED
when the warriors happen pic.twitter.com/x0M20Som5H— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) June 11, 2019
THEY SAID IT
"I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand in this world and if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department. And to tell you something about Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong."
-- Warriors general manager Bob Myers, on Kevin Durant
NUMBER OF NOTE
77 -- Steph Curry & Klay Thompson scored or assisted on 77 of the Warriors' 106 points in Game 5. Their 57 combined points were their third-most in an NBA Finals game.
- Warriors 106, Raptors 105 (TOR leads series 3-2)
WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING
Blakely: Kawhi Leonard is human after all
After what has been an amazing run of games in the postseason, Kawhi Leonard picked as bad a night as there could be, to have an off night. With a chance for the Raptors to knock off the defending champions, Leonard the cyborg morphed into playing like a human; capable of missing shots that his cyborg side knocked down over and over and over again.
The end result was a Toronto loss, one in which Leonard scored 26 points on 9-for-24 shooting, with 12 rebounds and six assists while turning it over five times.
That latter stat, the five turnovers, was the eye-popping one because the one thing Leonard has consistently done besides dominate scoring and the boards, was avoid turnovers and miscues.
In this series, it was the second time Leonard had five or more turnovers. Both games resulted in Toronto losses.
But here’s the thing: Last night’s five-turnover game was the sixth time during this postseason that Leonard had a game with five or more turnovers. His record in the game right afterwards?
Forsberg: Waiting for word
All eyes are on Durant’s MRI and the long-term ramifications of his injury. An Achilles tear could change the entire NBA offseason and makes the 2019-20 season a whole lot more of a toss up around the league.
The bigger question is how exactly do the Warriors respond in the aftermath of an emotional win? Can they harness the energy and rally around their fallen comrade?
In a series that hasn’t disappointed, Game 6 could be another treat to watch — and selfishly we want a Game 7.
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