Facing elimination in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, the Golden State Warriors dug deep and kept the series alive.
The first half was wild, with both teams putting together solid runs. Golden State took a six-point lead, 62-56, into the locker room as Stephen Curry led both teams with 23 first-half points. However, the Warriors had heavy hearts after watching star Kevin Durant once more head into the locker room with a leg injury.
The two teams were even in the third quarter, setting up a wild final stanza with Golden State clinging to a six-point lead. They’d need every bit of that lead, as the final quarter ended with a one-point victory for the road team.
With Game 5 now in the books, here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers from Monday night’s action.
Winner: Splash Bros come through in the clutch
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combined for 35 points in the first half. But they saved their best for last. Curry was unstoppable in the first half, shooting 7-11 from the field and 3-5 from three en route to 23 points. But he disappeared for much of the second half and scored a grand total of eight points in the final two quarters.
While Curry struggled, Thompson stepped up, scoring 14 second-half points. Even better, both of them came through with huge plays late in the fourth quarter to push the series to Game 6.
Loser: Kyle Lowry threw the game away
Overall, Lowry had a solid game for the Raptors, scoring 18 points and dishing six assists. However, there were two key moments late in the fourth quarter that stand out as particularly egregious.
First, Lowry attempted to pass back out to Marc Gasol after driving into the lane. The problem? His pass was wild, and the Warriors ended up taking advantage with two straight threes.
Then, as he attempted to beat the buzzer at the end of regulation, Lowry’s outside shot was well off the mark.
That’s not the way to close out a game.
Winner: DeMarcus Cousins provided a spark
When Kevin Durant left the game in the second quarter, it seemed like the Warriors were about to hit a slump. Then, Cousins came into the game and scored seven points in the span of about one minute. Not only did Golden State not deflate, the team galvanized and went on a small run that carried over through the remainder of the second quarter.
All told, Boogie provided an outstanding effort on both ends of the court, going for 14 points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. Though he committed a couple of sloppy turnovers, his effort and energy more than made up for them.
Loser: Kawhi can’t finish what he started
There was a stretch in the fourth quarter when Kawhi Leonard scored 10 straight points for the Raptors, pushing them to a six-point lead. It looked like he was set to absolutely take the game over as we’ve seen him do more than once this postseason.
Then, head coach Nick Nurse called a timeout.
From there, Leonard went ice cold, and the Raptors were outscored 9-2 the rest of the way. All told, the Raptors star had a rough night overall, shooting 9-22 from the field. Nurse will likely be kicking himself for putting a halt to that hot streak.
Winner: Draymond continues to do it all
Draymond Green is incredible. He was two assists shy of another triple-double Monday night, going for 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, adding one steal to his stat sheet as well.
Green also hit a couple of clutch three-pointers in the second half. While he did earn a technical and five personal fouls, his energy and all-around excellence continues to be a force.
Loser: Raptors fans should be ashamed
The rabid Raptors fans in Toronto have been a breath of fresh air all throughout the postseason. They have been a huge source of energy for their team, and the way fans have come together at times has been inspirational.
On Monday, however, all that goodwill was tossed out the window. Kevin Durant, who hadn’t played all series due to a calf injury, was booed as he walked onto the court for pre-game warmups. Then, when he went down in pain with another leg injury in the second quarter, Raptors fans cheered and waved goodbye, much to their shame.
We don’t expect fans to root for the enemy of their favorite team. But it’s just bad form to cheer an injury, and the display of poor sportsmanship by Raptors fans Monday night was just ugly.