The Toronto Raptors had a chance to kill off the Golden State Warriors when game five of the 2018 – 2019 NBA Championship series was played in Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, but instead, the life of Oracle Arena was prolonged by one more game, as the series now shifts back to Oakland for game six.
“We owe our fans one more game in Oracle,” Golden State guard Klay Thompson told the media.
Oracle is not particularly old or decrepit, but the Warriors are leaving Oakland behind and relocating across the bay to a new facility in San Francisco that will be named Chase Center. It was opened in 1996.
The Warriors have made five straight trips to the NBA Championship Final, but they were unable to secure home court for the NBA Final, as the Raptors won one more game than did the Warriors in the regular season.
Toronto had the NBA Championship in its grasp in game five.
After trailing most of the game, they surged ahead by six points with fewer than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson somewhat nonchalantly erased the deficit and held on to win 106 – 105 on a night that was tainted by emotion, as Kevin Durant paid the ultimate price for coming back from a strained calf too soon and limped to the locker room during the second quarter after playing 12 minutes and scoring 11 points.
The Raptors will not be intimidated by playing in Oracle, but they are playing a decimated Warriors team that is fighting to stay alive and seems capable of going into the spectator stands and plucking a player from the crowd.
Asked what the Raptors need to do in order to win, Kawhi Leonard said, “Come out and do the same thing. Just be mentally focused, try to limit our mistakes and be the aggressor.”
Leonard is a force with which to be reckoned on the court, but his sports cliché skills could use a bit of sharpening.
The bookies have installed the Warriors as 2.5-point favourites for the game, but they will have to get by without Durant and Kevon Looney, so there is every chance that Andrew Bogut will play more than the two minutes he saw in game five.