Basketball

Golden State Warriors stay alive, but lose Kevin Durant

All-Star forward's Achilles injury galvanises Warriors, but history remains with Raptors

Clutch three-pointers by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson - and a block by Draymond Green on Kyle Lowry's trey at the final buzzer - helped defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors pip Toronto Raptors 106-105 yesterday morning (Singapore time), keeping alive their hopes of winning a third consecutive Finals.

The Warriors were just seconds and a single shot away from surrendering their title to the Raptors. But any joy from the victory was dimmed by a right Achilles injury to Kevin Durant, only 12 minutes into his return from a month-long layoff due to a right calf injury.

Curry scored 31 points while Thompson added 26 as the Warriors reduced the deficit in the best-of-seven series to 3-2, forcing a Game 6 on Friday morning (Singapore time) at Oakland, California.

Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, departed the arena on crutches but became an inspiration to his teammates.

Green said: "To Steph's credit, he rallied the troops... went around the huddle and just told everybody to stay locked in and do this for Kevin. And I think we did a good job of coming together."

'SUPER PROUD OF THE GUYS'

Despite the defeat, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he remains "super proud of the guys".

Kawhi Leonard, who led Toronto with 26 points and 12 rebounds, scored eight points in a 12-2 run that gave the Raptors a 103-97 lead with 3min 28sec remaining.

Then came two Thompson three-pointers and another by Curry that put the Warriors ahead. Lowry hit a jumper and the Raptors got one final chance after a foul called on Golden State's DeMarcus Cousins. But the Warriors double-teamed Leonard and Green blocked a Lowry corner three-pointer at the buzzer.

History remains on the Raptors' side. Only once in 34 times has a team led the NBA Finals 3-1 and lost the title, in 2016 when the LeBron James-led Cleveland rallied to defeat Golden State. - AFP

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