After a major Kawhi Leonard run, it seemed like Toronto was headed for their first NBA title. A few quick threes from the splash brothers, and a Draymond Green block on the final shot changed that narrative. Toronto will be headed back to the Oracle Arena for Game 6. The Raptors will be battling a Durant-less Warriors team again, as his unfortunate injury will keep him out for the series and much longer. This impacts the series first, as Toronto should resort back to similar matchups, even though we saw them adjust for just 11 minutes of Durant being on the court.
Toronto won both games on the road for games 3 and 4. There is no doubt they can do that again. The always great narratives of the NBA are building. Can Golden State force a game 7 in the last game at their arena, or will Toronto take home their first ever title.
Game 5 Raptors Recap
Toronto was extremely close for closing out the series at home. The Kevin Durant injury within the opening 12 minutes casted a bit of a shadow on what we really need to look at for Toronto. They struggled shooting the ball again from three, and we saw Pascal Siakam and Danny Green struggle throughout most of the game. The fast paced start had Toronto viewing what they would have been facing if Durant wasn’t injured. They weathered a quick start, and saw Golden State hit three after three to start the game. It was still a close game, but they looked outmatched. After Durant’s injury, the tide turned more towards Toronto.
Fred VanVleet continues his strong play in this series and started ahead of Green in the second half. Closing out the game, Toronto had a few mistakes, and so did Nick Nurse with his timeout usage. We saw Leonard make a clutch run on his own, which was completely necessary given the shooting struggles of the Raptors. During the last possession, Leonard was doubled forcing him to pass to Kyle Lowry who missed in the corner. We have seen the Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson runs before and those back to back clutch threes in the final minutes were crucial.
Raptors Starting Lineup
Kyle Lowry, PG – Kyle Lowry shot 50% from the field in Game 5, but struggled from three. He also dished out six assists. Lowry also played a team high 42 minutes. His shot has been on and off this postseason, and defensively he has seen a lot of Steph Curry. That will continue to be the case with the occasional mix and match of defenders. Lowry should continue to draw the highest minutes of the guards. Green tends to be the guy pulled at this point.
Danny Green, SG – Danny Green had very little impact on Game 6, despite playing 33 minutes. He scored just four points, and had five boards. Toronto had some chances to pull ahead, and Green was a part of the three point struggles. Nick Nurse continues to toe the line with using Green at times, which is when we see VanVleet get more run. Toronto’s likeliness to win Game 6 will need some better shooting from beyond the arc. Green’s defense has been above average, but the backcourt of Golden State will continue to have their way.
Kawhi Leonard, SF – It was another typical Kawhi Leonard performance, as he was contributing across all categories. Leonard also dominated in usage, especially down the stretch. Leonard has seen a handful of defenders, but Thompson has had the most success. Look for this matchup to continue, and ultimately be a possible deciding factor in this one. Leonard might be looking to take over portions of this game as he did in Game 5 if the shooting struggles occur.
Pascal Siakam, PF – A lot of Pascal Siakam’s Game 5 performance will go overlooked, but it was not very good. There were stretches down the second half where he likely should have been pulled. He was -5 in 35 minutes, and pulled a 12-4-2 line. Siakam struggled defensively, and it will be interesting to see if Nurse goes to Serge Ibaka more often this game. Ibaka played 17 minutes and has been very productive over the last few games. Siakam has the capability to drop a monster game, which would help Toronto’s chances greatly.
Marc Gasol, C – It was a strong game for Marc Gasol, as he pushed over 30 minutes, and dropped 17 and 8. He was able to get Cousins back out on defense at times, but also was somewhat of a mismatch against Green. He will get the usual matchups this time around, which eh should have an advantage of. Gasol has had some on and off usage games, but this might be one of his higher games. I am not sure why, but Gasol continues to be super overlooked this series when he drops this games.
Fred VanVleet continued to play his strong minutes, but was under 30. Defensively he didn’t have the juice late in the game as he did in prior games. He was -12 which was the worst of the team. Serge Ibaka had a strong game again, dropping 15 and 6. Norman Powell saw 12 minutes, but didn’t have much production.