Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors
When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, June 13, 2019
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Special to Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
OAKLAND – The Golden State Warriors look to even the NBA Finals at three games apiece when they host the Toronto Raptors tonight in Game 6 of the seven-game series. Toronto had the opportunity to close it out on Monday but suffered a 106-105 home loss during a contest in which Warriors star forward Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles tendon in his first appearance of the series.
Durant said on his Instagram account Wednesday that he underwent surgery and the Golden State squad will be thinking of him as it moves forward with its focus on winning two more games and claiming a third straight title. “That definitely comes into play,” Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters of the extra motivation. “That’s a guy who we all have seen his love for the game of basketball. For him to get back out there, as crazy as it sounds, I think he played for 11 minutes, I think those 11 minutes were enough to give us the spark that we needed.”
The Raptors will make a second attempt at clinching their first NBA crown after letting a six-point lead with three minutes remaining slip away in Game 5. “We understand that the moment is the moment, but we still are staying in it,” Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry told reporters. “We’re not too up, we’re not too down. Just one game, hey, we lost it. Now we got to move on to the next one.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ABC, Sportsnet One (Toronto)
ABOUT THE RAPTORS: Star forward Kawhi Leonard was just 9-of-24 from the field in Game 5 but still managed 26 points as his average in the NBA Finals dropped to 29.8. The soon-to-be free agent has a stoic look on the court that makes him appear immune to late-game pressure but he told reporters he definitely feels the stress of the situations. “Even before it gets down to the stretch, you feel like you want to play great,” Leonard told reporters. “You want to make the next shot or get the next stop. To really say at that time like, ‘Oh, I feel so much pressure.’ You really don’t. I think once your adrenaline is going, it’s a lot different than you watching the game because your mindset is totally different.”
ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Center DeMarcus Cousins was going to receive diminished minutes in Game 5 but Durant’s injury led to more court time and the nine-year-veteran was a key contributor with 14 points in 20 minutes. Cousins missed six-plus weeks with a quadriceps injury and is well aware that he and his teammates suffered a major blow with the loss of Durant. “It’s not a concern. Lock in even more,” Cousins told reporters. “We understand the void we have to fill. The next guy has to step up which has been done numerous times throughout this playoff run, so we expect the same thing.”
- Lowry scored 18 points in Game 5 for his second-highest output of the series but is just 1-of-10 from 3-point range over the past two games.
- Warriors PG Stephen Curry is averaging 32.4 points in the series with a high of 47 and a low of 23.
- Toronto backup PG Fred VanVleet has made 11 3-pointers in the series and has scored in double digits in four of the five games.