- Kawhi Leonard scored 10 points in two minutes in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals to give the Toronto Raptors a 6-point lead.
- According to a report, arena workers began preparing the Raptors locker room for a celebration and wheeled out the Larry O’Brien trophy, as a championship seemed inevitable.
- The Golden State Warriors responded by scoring 9 points in 95 seconds to regain the lead and hold on for the win.
- The scene evoked memories of the 2013 finals, when the court was being prepared for the championship celebration for Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs, only for the Miami Heat to come back and win.
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The Golden State Warriors spoiled what looked like an inevitable Toronto Raptors championship and a glorious moment for Kawhi Leonard.
With just over five minutes remaining in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, Leonard took over and attempted to carry the Raptors by himself.
Over two minutes, Leonard scored 10 straight points, including two pull-up 3-pointers to turn a 2-point Raptors deficit into a 6-point lead.
10 straight points … Kawhi is seizing the moment! pic.twitter.com/dVj9x4gS8u
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 11, 2019
With Scotiabank Arena going wild and the championship in sight, arena workers began preparing the Raptors locker room for a celebration, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Windhorst said on “The Hoop Collective” podcast after Game 5 that the Raptors locker room was getting lined with plastic, while the Larry O’Brien trophy was wheeled into the hallway.
That’s when the Warriors hit back. Over 95 seconds, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry scored 9 points (two 3-pointers from Thompson, one from Curry) to swing the game back into the Warriors’ hands. They eventually held on for the 106-105 win to bring the series to 3-2.
Such a turn of events resembles Game 6 of the 2013 finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat – a game Leonard was also in.
The Spurs took a 5-point lead in the final minute, only to have the Heat hit two 3-pointers, including Ray Allen’s famous corner three, to tie the game and force overtime. In that final minute, the Spurs’ championship seemed so certain that arena workers began roping off the arena, preparing for the postgame celebration. Instead, the Heat won in overtime to tie the series. The team then won Game 7.
Leonard and the Raptors have two more games to try to avoid a similar fate.
- Read more:
- Nick Nurse called a bizarre timeout late in the fourth quarter that killed the Raptors momentum and sent the Warriors on their game-winning hot streak
- Raptors players told their fans to stop heckling Kevin Durant after he re-injured his calf and it ended in a standing ovation for the Warriors superstar
- Warriors GM Bob Myers announced Kevin Durant injured his Achilles and held back tears in a somber scene
- ‘An incredible win, and a horrible loss’: Steve Kerr reacts to the difficult emotions that came with Golden State’s Game 5 victory and Kevin Durant’s injury