The Golden State Warriors are a team of cockroaches riding Twinkies, and they were wearing full suits of armor as they beat the Toronto Raptors 106-105 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. The series is heading back to Oakland after the Warriors somehow—somehow—overcame a fourth-quarter deficit in Toronto to extend their season. They weren’t indestructible, as Kevin Durant suffered a potentially serious Achilles injury, but they managed to survive. Somehow. Cue the cliches about underestimating the hearts of champions and whatnot.
Before that late run, the key moment of the game had occurred early in the second quarter when Durant re-injured his right leg. He hadn’t played since May 8, when he hurt his calf against the Houston Rockets in the second round, and his gutsy Finals return (11 points in 11 minutes) ended with him leaving the arena on crutches. The Warriors could have (should have?) let the game slip right then, but they managed to maintain a six-point lead heading into the half.
For expediency’s sake, let’s flash-forward to the fourth quarter with 5:36 on the clock. That’s when Kawhi Leonard somehow avoided picking up a traveling call and dished to Norman Powell for a dunk that pulled Toronto within two.
Leonard then went full MJ (which stands for “My word, he’s doing a great Job ”) and scored 10 straight points to put Toronto up 103-97 with 3:28 remaining.
The game was as good as over. Scotiabank Arena was shaking free from its foundation and the fans outside at Jurassic Park were popping celebratory Labatts. Somewhere, Ed Grimley was crying tears of joy.
But then the Warriors remembered that they’re those Warriors, a team that can drain threes from Saskatchewan. (Did I mention the game was played in Canada?) Klay Thompson hit from deep, Steph Curry hit another, and then Thompson finished the 9-0 run with a side-step dagger that put the Warriors up for good.
The Raptors had one final attempt to win the series, but Kyle Lowry’s attempt hit the side of the backboard. Golden State shelved any dynasty obituaries and kept Oracle Arena open for at least one more night.