The Golden State Warriors lived to see another day, so the 2019 NBA Finals will as well.
Despite losing both Kevin Durant and Kevon Looney to injuries (again), the defending champs staved off elimination with a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday. The series now shifts back to Oakland's Oracle Arena for Game 6, where the short-handed Warriors will either work more magic or perhaps see their dynastic hold on the Association start to loosen.
After laying out the particulars for the upcoming contest, we'll take a deeper dive into the matchup before peaking into our crystal ball for a can't-miss prediction.
2019 NBA Finals: Game 6
Who: Raptors at Warriors
When: Thursday, June 13, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Oracle Arena
Live Stream: WatchESPN
It's no minor miracle the Warriors are still standing.
Golden State seemed to be running on fumes for much of the game after that. Durant, who scored 11 points in 12 minutes, looked like a potential series-savior, then poof—he was removed from the equation.
After winning the first frame by six points with Durant, the Dubs wouldn't win another period the rest of the night.
Somehow, they didn't need to. Behind red-hot shooting from splash siblings Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (57 points and 12 triples combined), another do-it-all effort from Draymond Green (10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists) and an inspired stretch from DeMarcus Cousins (14 points, six boards in 20 minutes), this team found just enough to eke out a one-point victory.
It was hard to believe for those watching—the Warriors wiggled out of a six-point deficit over the final three minutes—and even harder to process for those who participated.
"It's a bizarre feeling that we all have right now," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. "An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time."
The Raptors might have an even harder time figuring out what happened.
They seemed on the cusp of capturing the franchise's first NBA title. Kawhi Leonard went in takeover mode near the five-minute mark, engineering a personal 10-2 run that turned a two-point deficit into a six-point advantage.
Toronto coach Nick Nurse, hoping to give his team an energy boost for the final stretch, called a pair of use-them-or-lose-them timeouts shortly thereafter.
The Raptors scored just two points the rest of the way, while the Warriors rallied behind timely triples from Curry and Thompson.
"We just came across and just decided to give those guys a rest," Nurse said of the timeouts. "[We] just thought we could use the extra energy push."
Golden State seemed the more energized team down the stretch and extended the series because of that.
Now, the challenge will be finding that extra wind again. The Warriors head home with no Durant and questions surrounding Looney, who reaggravated his chest injury on Monday but hopes to make it back for Thursday.
It took a miracle for the Warriors to win Game 5.
If they didn't outshoot the Raptors 20-8 from distance, they wouldn't have won. If they didn't get Durant's 11-point cameo, they wouldn't have won. If Leonard found his rhythm earlier, they wouldn't have won. If Pascal Siakam or Danny Green hit one of their combined eight long-range looks, they wouldn't have won. If Cousins flopped like he had the past two games, they wouldn't have won.
But none of that matters. Golden State got the victory and sent this series back to Cali. The champs should get an adrenaline boost from their home fans, while Toronto endures a few days of second-guessing and mounting pressure.
The eye test says the Raptors should probably take Game 6. But the Warriors showed how dangerous they are as long as they have a pulse. They're still alive now, and our crystal ball doesn't see that changing Thursday night.
Prediction: Warriors 109, Raptors 105