Both teams lost Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Toronto Raptors were the official losers, failing to secure the franchise's first title on its home floor and ending up on the wrong side of a 106-105 scoreline.
The Golden State Warriors may have been the bigger losers, though, as they briefly watched Kevin Durant return from a month-long absence only to lose him again to injury, this time a potentially devastating Achilles injury.
"It's a bizarre feeling that we all have right now," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said afterward. "An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time."
While the defending champs lived to see another day, will their latest injury prove to be their knockout blow? Can the Raptors refocus after squandering a late lead, or have they already blown their chance to bring the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy north of the border?
We'll preview—and predict—Game 6 after presenting the scheduling and latest odds, via VegasInsider.com, below.
2019 NBA Finals: Game 6
Who: Raptors at Warriors
When: Thursday, June 13, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Oracle Arena
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Latest Line: Warriors -3
It's more than poetic that the little production Durant could provide—11 points in 12 minutes—proved literally just enough for the Warriors to scratch out a victory. It's also revealing.
Sans Durant, Golden State's margin for error is nonexistent. Having him available meant the Warriors could essentially get by without Jordan Bell, Alfonzo McKinnie and Andrew Bogut (eight minutes combined). Expanding the rotation would be difficult since none of the three has looked particularly capable of taking on a bigger role.
Durant also drilled three of the Dubs' 20 triples. Without that barrage of long balls, the Warriors don't have a chance. The Raptors dominated the paint (54-32 paint points), controlled the offensive glass (13-6) and committed fewer turnovers (13-16).
Only a shooting display for the ages saved Golden State, and even then, it was by a one-point margin. As ESPN.com's Kirk Goldsberry noted, this offense is far more reliant on Durant than the flawed "the Warriors are better without him" hot takes would ever have you believe:
"Per Second Spectrum, the two most used plays for the Warriors this season were Durant post-ups and Durant isolations. He's the centerpiece of their offense, and he won the Finals MVP award in each of the previous two years for a reason. He was the best scorer in these playoffs, and his injury means the Splash Brothers will have to overcome increased defensive attention and find ways to replace a big chunk of KD's production. In Game 5, they did so with an all-time three-point shooting performance, even by their standards. It's doubtful the Warriors can get 20 threes again in Game 6. Where will the points come from the rest of the series?"
With no Durant, the Raptors move back into the driver's seat.
They've looked like the better team almost every non-Durant minute in this series.
Kawhi Leonard could be putting his frying-pan hands around the title of best player on the planet (29.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks per night). Pascal Siakam (18.6 points, 7.0 rebounds) and Fred VanVleet (12.4 points, 2.2 triples) have each used this series as their introductions to the casual fan.
Danny Green, Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry are all two-way veterans and potential net-shredders. Serge Ibaka has shaken off a quiet start to this series and been an impact presence the last two times out (35 total points on 20 field-goal attempts).
Late-game gut punch aside, Toronto is still in a good place.
"If you would have probably told me at the start of this thing, 'If we could fast forward to a 3-2 lead, you want to take it?'" Raptors coach Nick Nurse said postgame. "I would probably say 'yes.'"
Healthier and deeper, Toronto is built to win the numbers game. While Leonard is the solo superstar, the roster has a handful of players who can look the part of All-Star sidekick any given night. The defense can be relentless, and the offense is flowing when its long-range looks find their mark.
And yet, it feels impossible to pick against the Warriors.
If anyone can orchestrate a nuclear shooting effort two games in a row, it's Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. If anyone can consistently make series-saving stops, it's Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. If anyone can change the outcome of a game with a surprise 20-point outburst, it's DeMarcus Cousins.
This is the last game Golden State will ever play at Oracle Arena. There's too much heart, too much experience and too much skill to imagine the Warriors going out with a loss.
This might be the Raptors' series to lose, but hoops intuition says the Warriors will find a way to send it back north for a winner-take-all Game 7.