NBA Finals: Burning questions for Warriors-Raptors Game 5

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

After ripping off two straight road wins, the Toronto Raptors head back home with a chance to win the NBA Finals in Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors.

Game details: Here’s a look at the start time, television information, and odds for Monday night’s Warriors-Raptors NBA Finals Game 5.

  • When: 8:00 p.m. EST
  • Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
  • TV: ABC
  • Betting Line: Toronto -1.5 / 212 points

The big picture: With one more victory, the Raptors will win the NBA Finals. Heading into Game 5, Golden State faces a 3-1 deficit — one only the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers have ever overcome in the history of the NBA Finals.

Here’s a look at the biggest questions facing both teams heading into Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Will Kawhi continue pouring on the offense?

The Raptors have gotten big games from many players throughout the postseason. However, the one mainstay has been Kawhi Leonard, who has raised his game to a level we’ve never before witnessed from the Raptors star.

Leonard is averaging 31.1 points per game this postseason, and he has scored at least 30 points the past three games in a row. In Friday’s win at Oracle, he drained five threes and was perfect from the stripe en route to a 36-point effort.


No matter who the Warriors have put on him defensively, The Klaw has found a way to make big plays. Can he continue in a close-out scenario tonight?

Can Steph bounce back?

Stephen Curry was magnificent two games ago, scoring 47 points. The Warriors star came crashing back down to Earth on Friday with a frustrating offensive night in which he hit just 9-22 shots from the field, including 2-9 from behind the arc.

If Curry has another rough night shooting in Toronto for Game 5, then the Warriors will have an awfully difficult time. Golden State tends to feed off Curry’s energy. When he’s splashing threes regularly, the entire offense gets a boost. When he’s struggling, the Warriors generally struggle, too.

Will Toronto’s bench stay hot?

For whatever reason, the Raptors have gotten big games out of their bench for most of the NBA Finals after seeing this second unit struggle for much of the playoffs. Serge Ibaka was a monster in Game 4, scoring 20 points and adding two blocks. Fred VanVleet pitched in with eight more, and he’s been phenomenal in the NBA Finals for the Raptors.

Given Golden State’s depth issues during the Finals due to injuries, Toronto’s ability to provide consistent offensive firepower even when the starters are resting has been a big advantage. Another big game from the bench would give the Raptors a tremendous chance to close this series out.

Will the return of KD make a difference?

Kevin Durant hasn’t played since Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets. His calf injury turned out to be more serious than initially thought, and it’s been a slow recovery for the star forward.

Durant practiced on Sunday and walked off the court after a few hours of work without a limp. He’s listed as questionable to play. We assume that means he’ll play unless he experiences a pre-game setback. Even if he does, though, will Durant be able to provide the spark the Warriors need to stave off elimination?

It’s not as easy as just plugging in 30-plus points to Golden State’s roster. Chemistry is a big deal, and he’s been out of it for weeks. Rust could be a factor as well. Will Durant be the spark the Warriors need to pull off the comeback, or will it be too little, too late?

Will there be one more game at Oracle?

Despite Toronto obviously being the better team so far in the NBA Finals, we can’t discount the Warriors’ championship mettle. They have displayed it many times already in these playoffs, and they have a bit of extra motivation on top of elimination to get the win Monday night.

If Golden State loses Game 5, it would be quite the awkward end of the team’s tenure in Oakland. The final memory at Oracle Arena would be bitter, especially for Curry, who was unable to find his shooting touch when his team needed him the most.

Can Curry and Co. conjure one last bit of magic and bring the series back to Oakland, one last time? If they can, then we’d be foolish to count these Warriors out of the NBA Finals.