TORONTO (AFP) – Stephen Curry scored 31 points and Klay Thompson added 26 as the Golden State Warriors edged out Toronto 106-105 on Monday (June 10) to sustain their hopes of winning the National Basketball Association Finals.
The Warriors pulled within 3-2 in the best-of-seven championship series and forced a sixth game on Thursday in Oakland, California, with Game 7 if needed back in Toronto on Sunday.
On a night when Warriors star Kevin Durant returned from a right calf injury but played only 12 minutes before going out with another lower right leg injury, Golden State barely denied the Raptors their first NBA crown.
Kawhi Leonard, who led Toronto with 26 points, sank a back-to-back three-pointer and jumper to give the Raptors their largest lead at 103-97 with 3min 28sec remaining.
But the Warriors answered with Thompson and Curry sinking three-pointers and Thompson hitting another to put Golden State ahead to stay at 106-103 with 57 seconds to play.
Kyle Lowry cut the lead to the final margin with 30 seconds remaining and the Warriors made a final turnover when DeMarcus Cousins was whistled for a foul while trying to set a screen.
That gave Toronto a last chance but the Warriors double-teamed Leonard and Lowry missed a corner three-point shot at the buzzer.
“Do or die,” Curry said. “It wasn’t pretty in the second half but we just made the shots.”
The Warriors’ joy was tempered with star forward Durant leaving the game with what appeared to be a reaggravation of the same right calf injury that had kept him sidelined for a month.
The 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player had been medically cleared to play after missing nine games with the injury.
He sparked Golden State immediately, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes on 3-of-3 shooting from three-point range and having the Warriors look like the team that won the past two NBA crowns.
But for Golden State, the joy was all-too short-lived.
With 2min 14sec elapsed in the second quarter, Durant planted his right foot making a move with the ball and pulled up, taking a seated position on the court and grabbing the calf that had kept him out so long.
He was helped up by a trainer and escorted to the locker room with the aid of teammate Andre Iguodala, his attempt to help the Warriors appearing to be over.
He was then seen on crutches walking out of the arena late in the third quarter.
Durant had been the Warriors’ leading scorer with 34.2 points a game and also contributed 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists a game for Golden State before being hurt against Houston in the second round.
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