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Warriors stay alive in NBA Finals – barely, defeat Raptors 106-105 in Game 5

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, right, reacts after game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, a 106-105 victory for the Warriors over  the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on June 10, 2019, leaving Toronto with a 3-games-to-2 series lead Reuters

Toronto — The Golden State Warriors aren't letting go of the NBA title just yet.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points, Klay Thompson added 26 and they led a season-saving surge that gave the Warriors a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

The two-time defending champion Warriors showed true grit, writes CBS Sports' Jack Maloney.

The "Splash Brothers" — Curry and Thompson — combined for three straight 3-pointers in the closing minutes after Toronto had taken a six-point lead with under 3-1/2 minutes remaining in front of a raucous, red-shirted crowd.

"They're amazing. They're amazing competitors, great shooters," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

The Warriors lost Kevin Durant barely a quarter after getting him back from injury 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, which went to Kyle Lowry and was blocked by Draymond Green.

The 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 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.

He was attempting to dribble past Serge Ibaka early in the second quarter when he suddenly came to a stop, lost the ball and limped sideways before grabbing at his lower right calf as he fell to the court.

Fans at first cheered but then, spurred in part by some Raptors players, chanted "KD! KD!" as he was helped to the locker room area joined by Curry, Andre Iguodala and General Manager Bob Myers.

Durant left the arena on crutches.

He has an injured right Achilles, a massive blow for the perennial All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP who is three weeks away from free agency and now may be facing a long rehabilitation process.

Myers was teary when he gave reporters the news after the game. An MRI will be performed Tuesday to determine the severity, but Durant's season is clearly over and his recovery will likely take several months if the Achilles is indeed torn.

"He's one of the most misunderstood people," Myers said. "He's a good teammate, he's a good person, it's not fair. I'm lucky to know him. I don't have all the information on what really the extent of what it all means until we get a MRI, but the people that worked with him and cleared him are good people, they're good people."

Myers said Durant's first injury of this postseason was a calf injury, as the Warriors have insisted throughout. Myers also said he is willing to accept the blame for the decision to play Durant in Game 5.

"I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand in this world and if you have to, you can blame me," Myers said. "I run our basketball operations department. And to tell you something about Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong." 

The Warriors were initially OK without him because Cousins - who returned from injury himself in this series - came off the bench to score their next seven points before feeding Green for a layup that gave them a 48-37 lead. It got as high as 13 on Curry's four-point play, and Golden State led 62-56 at halftime.

But eventually it would come down to Curry and Thompson, who both logged more than 41 minutes and will have to be ready to go again Thursday in what will be the final game in Oracle Arena.

Lowry had 18 points and Marc Gasol scored 17 for the Raptors, who were trying to give Canada its first championship in one of the traditional major sports since the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.

Fans had been waiting through on-and-off rain all day - some since Sunday - to watch at one of the outdoor watch parties that have popped up in and around Toronto. The crowd inside the arena that included hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky and former Raptors star Vince Carter thought it would witness history as Leonard powered past his defenders repeatedly in the fourth quarter.

But the Raptors needed one more basket, and the only way the local fans can see them win in person is if it goes the full seven games and Toronto wins it at home on Sunday.