After Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals, the series between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors was all but over. All the Raptors had to do to make winning their first ever championship a reality was close the deal in Game 5. Well, that didn’t happen and now we’re back to Oracle Arena and Game 6. What? What happened? The Splash Brothers is what happened to the Raptors.
Scoring 57 points between them, including knocking out the Raptors with a 9-0 run thanks to several bombs away 3-pointers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson helped the Warriors push through a 106-105 road win that now extends the series to a Game 6 back in Oakland, California.
“We have been doing this for years, so it’s natural,” Thompson said after scoring 26 points in Game 5. “It’s not that we think we have to take on the scoring load, but when Kevin’s (Durant) not out there we — the ball’s going to find us a little bit more because obviously you know what he can do, averaging 35 a game in this post-season run. But, no, we just play our game. We don’t put any extra pressure on ourselves to carry the team.”
Before Kevin Durant arrived to the Bay Area to help the Warriors win back-to-back titles, the Warriors’ offensive onus was clearly reliant upon the shooting touch of Curry and Thompson. So seeing Curry tie the game with a 3-point heave and watch Thompson stroke through another 3-pointer to give Golden State it’s final advantage, should come as no surprise to anyone. That’s just how these cats roll.
“Well, we have been down big before, we have been down fourth quarters, late in games, and Coach Kerr drew up a couple great sets and me and Steph just got clean looks and you don’t want to give us too many of those because they will go in most of the time,” Thompson said.
While just about everyone and their momma have been clamoring for bullpen ace Durant to get back on the floor (a mitigated disaster for the entire Warriors organization), it felt like the Warriors would not be able to sustain Toronto’s defensive tenacity without him.
This is the sentiment that was echoed back when Durant went out with a calf injury against the Houston Rockets in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Since then, the Stephen Curry Show has been re-introduced and has had the Warriors thriving quite well…until this series. Since the absence of Durant, Curry has gone back to be being Curry, leading the Dubs past James Harden, Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets in the second round and the streaky Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.
In Game 5, Curry’s 31 points have allowed the Warriors to survive another basketball day. That’s kind of effort you can expect from him and the rest of the Warriors, he said.
“We’re going to give everything we got,” Curry said. “I would like to say I would guarantee the win, but who knows how it’s going to end up, but we’re going to give everything we got. We’re going to fight, we’re going to compete, and I know if we get a chance to talk to him the next two days, that’s what he would expect. So I’m excited about that proposition in terms of what we have to do on Thursday, but at the end of the day I’m still heartbroken for a guy that gave everything he had for us.
But against Toronto, Curry and the Warriors have struggled offensively mainly because of the Raptors’ length. This has led Golden State to fall into the 3-1 hole they found themselves in when they took on Toronto in Game 5. Even in this game, the Warriors didn’t exactly put the world on fire with their field goal shooting, especially in the last two quarters.
Despite the defeat at home, the Raptors held the Warriors to 44 points (22 points in the third quarter; 22 points in the fourth period) combined in the second half. For Curry, coming through when it matters is all that counts at the end of the day.
“We made a lot of different statements over the course of these five years,” Curry said. “Win or lose, I don’t feel like we need to prove anything anymore. It’s just about can we get the job done or not. Obviously like I said, tonight was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, and we have another game to play on Thursday. So we’ll be ready for it, but there’s no more statements needed to be made about who we are as a team and our heart and our competitiveness and whatnot. We want to win this championship, we’re going to give everything we got, but I think we’re done with proving people wrong or making bold statements with our play, people know who we are.”