Things have clicked offensively, with Golden State hitting seven of its first nine shots, including all five attempts from 3-point range, but the Raptors have hardly wilted. After Klay Thompson fouled Marc Gasol with 7:11 left in the first, putting Gasol on the line for two shots, the Warriors were only leading 19-12.
Thus far Durant has not appeared limited in his movements, and his presence seems to have relaxed the rest of the team.
With Kevin Durant back, the Warriors went with their small starting lineup — the Hampton’s Five to some — with Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson starting alongside Durant.
Durant, as he had been doing before his injury, lined up for the tip, timed the first attempt poorly and then was outjumped by Toronto’s Marc Gasol for the ball. And with that, Game 5, a game that could decide the series, is underway.
Scott Cacciola: Pregame news conferences tend to be staid affairs, free of insight. Coaches don’t want to give anything away, and that seems especially true in the N.B.A. finals when the stakes are so high. But Raptors Coach Nike Nurse is an unconventional guy with an unconventional background and an unconventional approach, and he doesn’t mind sharing now and then.
Such was the case before the Raptors headed to Oakland for Games 3 and 4, when Nurse essentially said that he was hoping his team could return to Toronto with the series tied at two games apiece. Instead, the Raptors returned with a 3-1 series lead. So before tonight’s game, Nurse gave a lot of the credit to Kawhi Leonard — not necessarily for Leonard’s play on the court (though his play has been extraordinary) but for some choice words that Leonard shared with his teammates in the locker room before their trip to the west coast.
“I was like, ‘All we got to do is go get one,’” Nurse recalled. “And Kawhi said, ‘Expletive that, let’s go get them both.’”