The Toronto Raptors blew an opportunity to put away the NBA Finals Monday at home, giving up a late six-point lead to lose Game 5 106-105. But they’re still in control of the series, carrying a 3-2 lead to the West Coast for Game 6 Thursday.
Along with the series lead, the Raps bring with them a perfect 3-0 road record against the Golden State Warriors this season. Before winning Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals in Oakland by 13 and 14 points respectively, the Raps beat the Warriors 113-93 on the road in the regular season back in December.
The Raps will look for one more solid outing in the final game ever at Oracle Arena before the Warriors move to San Francisco next season.
The Raptors will be taking on a Warriors squad without Kevin Durant, who injured his Achilles, and potentially Kevon Looney, who aggravated his chest injury in Game 5. That could lead to a lot of frontcourt minutes for DeMarcus Cousins, who has struggled in the NBA Finals.
With Cousins on the court, the Warriors are shooting 39 per cent from the floor and 34 per cent from three-point range, compared to 47 per cent from the floor and 41 per cent from three-point range when he’s on the bench.
Even after dropping Game 5, history is still on the Raptors’ side. Only three teams in NBA history have ever come back from the 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. The last to do so were the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, who accomplished the feat against the Warriors.
- The Raptors (+27) have a better point differential at Oracle Arena (+18) this postseason than the Warriors. After winning Game 4, Toronto became the first team to win three straight games at the Warriors since Steve Kerr took over.
- The Raptors have won three straight road games, which ties their longest road win streak in franchise postseason history (the team also did this in 2001).
- Game 6 will be the last game at Oracle Arena. There has never been an instance where an NBA championship was won in the last game of a venue.
- The Warriors became the fifth team to win an NBA Finals game by one point when facing elimination and first since 1988 Lakers won Game 6 vs Detroit. They went on to win in seven games.
- The Warriors became the sixth team in the last 40 seasons to win a road game in the NBA Finals when facing elimination.
- Golden State leads the NBA in offensive efficiency this postseason, but ranks 11th in defensive efficiency, its worst in a single playoff year under Kerr. The last team to win the title with a defensive efficiency that ranked 10th or worse in the playoffs was the Lakers in 2000 (ranked 13th).