Good morning, folks. Looks like Kevin Durant was, in fact, still injured the whole time. Let’s talk NBA Finals.
Warriors – 106 @ Raptors – 105 (TOR leads 3-2)
- The Golden State Warriors had been playing coy with Kevin Durant’s supposed calf injury that forced him to miss nine straight playoff games. Durant suffered the injury in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs against the Houston Rockets but the plan from the start of this series was to plug Durant back in around Game 5 – which they did. And Durant – along with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson – got off to a melting hot start from deep and formed a sizable lead early in the game. However, early in the second quarter, with Durant pushing off his right leg to make a move to the basket, his leg looked like it shot off a bullet on live television. The Warriors announced after the game that injury was his Achilles, leading to speculation that it always had been the Achilles and Golden State was pressuring Durant to come back early (or Durant was pressuring Golden State to allow him to play. Or possibly both are true). As the series dragged on and it became more and more clear that the Warriors need Durant on the floor to win, bringing him back ahead of schedule always seemed to be the plan anyway. He finished with 11 points on 3-5 shooting before leaving the arena on crutches.
- Before Durant went down, the Warriors were rolling the Raptors. The Big 3 for Golden State was hot and Kawhi Leonard couldn’t find a rhythm. Once that injury hit Durant, it felt like the tables immediately shifted. But one player showed up in necessary fashion – DeMarcus Cousins. The former Kentucky big picked up the slack that Durant left, posting 14 points on 6-8 shooting to go along with six rebounds in 19 minutes. After struggling in Games 3 and 4, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr didn’t play Cousins at all in the first quarter, but with Durant out, the team needed Cousins desperately to step up. He immediately started to work his way to the basket for clean looks at the basket and he was efficient in putting them up (Cousins shot 5-5 on non-threes). Unfortunately, Cousins isn’t in terrific game shape and appears to gas himself out quickly. Which then translates to the defensive end, leading to poor rotations and half-efforted attempts to block shots, but Golden State doesn’t win this game without Cousins. He helped maintain a healthy lead for the Warriors in the immediate minutes after Durant’s injury. The momentum could have easily shifted entirely into Toronto’s favor, but Boogie prevented that. He even had some words for his fellow teammate and the fans who initially booed his injury.
DeMarcus Cousins on the people who questioned KD’s heart: “F*ck them. F*ck them…”
Follows up by saying the fans who cheered KD’s injury are ‘trash’ pic.twitter.com/ADGS2aNuMn
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) June 11, 2019
- Toronto mounted its comeback in the fourth quarter, at one point stealing a one-point lead late in the game after Kawhi Leonard poured in 10 straight points and went into God mode for about two straight minutes. But Curry and Thompson continued to rain threes and the Warriors took a three-point lead with just under one minute left after Thompson buried his seventh triple of the game. Kyle Lowry had a shot at the buzzer to win the game, but excellent defense from Draymond Green (who finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists) forced the ball to hit the side of the backboard. Now we head back to Oracle Arena for a Game 6 and the nerves are for Toronto are going to be worse than they ever have been.
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||106-105 W @ TOR||14||6-8 (1-3)||6||1||1||1||2||-4||19|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR||105-106 L vs. GSW||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
Raptors @ Warriors – 9:00 P.M. EST – Thursday on ABC