Stephen Curry scored 31 points, Klay Thompson added 26 and they led a season-saving surge that gave the Golden State Warriors a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
The Splash Brothers combined for three straight 3-pointers in the closing minutes after Toronto had taken a six-point lead with under 3½ minutes remaining in front of a raucous, red-shirted crowd.
The Warriors lost Kevin Durant barely a quarter after getting him back but got the win, cutting Toronto’s lead to 3-2 and sending the series back to Oracle Arena for Game 6 on Thursday.
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points for the Raptors but couldn’t get the final shot, having to give the ball up.
The two-time defending champion Warriors were minutes away from their title reign ending, having lost Durant and a 14-point lead during an emotionally exhausting game. They had controlled Leonard for three quarters, but he scored 10 straight Toronto points in the fourth and the Raptors were close to their first championship and a celebration that would have stretched coast to coast in Canada.
But even after everything the Warriors had lost, they still had two of the best perimeter shooters in the world on the floor. Thompson hit a 3, and Curry followed with one to tie it at 103. Golden State got it back to Thompson and the Raptors lost sight of him just long enough for the tiebreaking shot with 57 seconds to go.
Toronto cut it to one when Kyle Lowry was credited with a basket and the Raptors got a final chance when DeMarcus Cousins was called for an illegal screen. Leonard had the ball but the Warriors forced him to pass and it ended up in the corner to Lowry, who was way off as the buzzer sounded.
Cousins had 14 points for the Warriors and Draymond Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Golden State is the only team to lose a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, when Cleveland came back to win in 2016.
Now the Warriors have a chance to pull off the feat themselves, but it became more difficult after Durant limped off in the second quarter after he had missed the previous nine games with a strained right calf.
SOURCE: BRIAN MAHONEY, AP