OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – There was a predictable sting that pained the Toronto Raptors after Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
They were so close.
And then they had to fly so far.
Whatever they were feeling after Monday night’s loss to Golden State is in the past, which is consistent with the way the Raptors have tried to handle their business throughout playoffs. Game 6 of the title series — one where the Raptors have outplayed the two-time defending champion Warriors — is Thursday night, when Toronto will take a second shot at grabbing its first NBA title.
“The moment is the moment, but we still are staying in it,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “We’re not too up, we’re not too down. We’re just, ‘One game, hey, we lost it.’ Now we’ve got to move on to the next one.”
The next one – the next chance to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy – has arrived.
Golden State’s 106-105 victory in Game 5 sent the series back to Oracle Arena, which the Raptors have basically turned into Jurassic Park West this season. The Raptors are 3-0 on the Warriors’ home floor, all three of those wins coming by double digits, two of them in this series.
Thursday is the last NBA game that’ll be played at Oracle. The place will be rocking.
The Raptors won’t mind whatsoever.
“You’ve got to be a little more tough-minded on the road,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
His team has been tough-minded everywhere.
Take away Golden State’s 18-0 run at Toronto to start the second half of Game 2 – a game where the Warriors still needed a final-seconds 3-pointer from Andre Iguodala to close the win out – and a 9-2 run to pull out a dramatic comeback victory for the champs in Game 5, also in Toronto, this series has largely been controlled by the Raptors.
Not many probably expected that to be the case.
Through five games, the Raptors have been outscored in only four of the 20 quarters. They’ve won every fourth quarter, albeit by small margins. They’ve struggled guarding Klay Thompson – he’s 20 for 35 from 3-point range in the series – but the rest of the Warriors, Stephen Curry included, are being held to 33 percent from beyond the arc.
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