The Golden State Warriors staved off elimination by beating the Toronto Raptors, 106-105, on Monday, withstanding the loss of Kevin Durant and a brilliant fourth-quarter push from Kawhi Leonard to claim Game 5 and make it a 3-2 series.
The defending champs left the court in joyous disbelief after pulling off a late-game caper for the ages. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to make 12 three-pointers, including three in the final three minutes.
But a night that ended with stunned silence in Scotia-bank Arena ran the full gamut of emotions.
“An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said.
For a quarter, Durant provided the emotional and talent boosts that the Warriors have so badly needed in this series. The all-star forward, playing for the first time in a month after suffering a right calf strain, swished his first two three-pointers, blocked Pascal Siakam in transition and helped stake Golden State to an 8-2 lead. Looking loose and emboldened, the Warriors drilled their first five three-pointers, and Curry enjoyed Durant’s space-creating impact by slicing to the basket for a pair of early layups.
Curry finished with a game-high 31 points and sprinted off the court in joyous disbelief. Thompson added 26, including seven three-pointers. Leonard, who had a team-high 26 points, went scoreless in the final three minutes and missed multiple potential daggers.
By winning, Golden State forced Game 6 at Oracle Arena on Thursday. With Durant likely lost for the series, the Warriors still need to conjure two more miracles to secure another title. After their latest and greatest escape, suddenly anything seems possible.