OAKLAND, Calif. – The official closure of the Oracle Arena and the official haunting end of Kevin Durant's season would normally be enough to occupy someone's deep thoughts in the Bay Area because they both on their own defined an era of Warriors basketball and became loved.
Meanwhile, there is another game to be played in the NBA final, and another championship to be won.
And there is only one way to extend the former and achieve the latter: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson must be at their splashiest, otherwise.
The margin of error in the series for Warriors is now as thin as their odds of catching it. They play against a healthier team and a star who knows how to succeed in June. They have lost two straight home to Toronto in the series and are 2-5 overall against Raptors this season.
And apart from Curry and Thompson, who have an average of 57.4 points in the finals, the warriors get mixed results at best from a number of players who would normally be supportive but not.
So a pattern has been drawn up and a drawing has been issued. Curry and Thompson have to fight the dual teams that come and shoot with efficiency and save enough energy for defense and save enough wind to save warriors with big shots if the game stretches down the stretch … and does it all again in one game 7 if they are lucky to get it so far.
"They've been doing it since they've been here," Shaun Livingston said. "It's nothing for them".
These are tough times for Warriors, who will take a whirl of emotions in Games 6. In a segment of their concentration, Durant, who underwent surgery on Wednesday morning in New York for Achilles, he broke in Game 5 Durant speaks in uncompromising terms within the organization, all realizing the sacrifice he made to return to action after a month and the risk he took with his body and beyond his future. The problem with basketball never comes up in conversation, which means that the war arena is much more worried about Durant's recovery than they lack with him from the floor.
There is also controversial angle with Durant and how much the war army was guilty, or not, of his injury. Two days after law, President Bob Myers ruled tears and accepted the debt, coach Steve Kerr was on Wednesday and tried to make the whole trial feel.
"Of course, everyone feels terrible about what happened," Kerr said. "Kevin checked all the boxes and he was cleaned by everyone involved. Now we would go back and do it all over again? They can give you on. But it's easy to say the results … our feeling was the worst thing that could happen was An injury to the calf. So Achilles came as a complete shock. "Durant has not spoken to the media since the injury, and in his limited social media reaction both before and after the surgery, he did not point to his fingers. His mother, Wanda Durant, also killed the question of blame when she went Good Morning America to discuss her son; her anger was instead directed at critics who initially questioned his injury and fans who cheered on his injury.
Durant has shown support for his teammates almost immediately after he left the team. The relationship between Durant and the front office, on the other hand, remains dumb but not too long; It will be revealed in a few weeks at the latest when Durant reaches the free agency and decides his future.
Meanwhile, the fate of the warriors is heavily influenced by their ability to replace what Durant offered. And much of that burden falls on a backcourt that haunted the Raptors in Game 5 and will be pushed to duplicate and triple it in the two closest games if the other is necessary.
Curry and Thompson have been teammates eight seasons and enjoy prominent mention among the best backcourts ever. Their chemistry together is perhaps second to none. Their shooting range is historic. Their common history – 11 combined All Star teams and three titles – is rich. And the task against them is monstrous.
Toronto is a solid defensive team, especially around the perimeter, where Curry and Thompson thrive. The raptors will surely shadow every player around the floor and willingly leave some reluctant shooters, such as Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, open as if they encourage them to shoot. There is a reason for this strategy: Green and Iguodala have been horrible from the outside in this series (a combined 9-of-35 from deep, with a majority of these shots uncontested) and have done nothing to earn Toronto's respect. 19659002] Then the Raptors will give them none until and unless they prove to be worthy.
When Green and Iguodala shoot, the result is usually a miss or a forced move to another teammate or a rally decision to attack the basket for an arrangement that is either successful or becomes an offensive foul or turnout. In essence, there is more bad than good.
Elsewhere: DeMarcus cousins have had three decent quarters throughout the series and mutually overcome by bad decisions, mistakes and turnover. Livingston is not a deep threat, and he cannot stretch the floor. Kevon Looney plays through pain. Quinn Cook goes hot and cold. And no one else is on the floor long enough to help.