Title: Five thoughts ahead of Game 5: How Raptors respond if Kevin Durant plays, Warriors’ bench and more
Date: June 10, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Kevin Durant’s potential return to the NBA Finals and a number of other matchup-specific thoughts ahead of Game 5.
The Toronto Raptors are one win from their first NBA championship. The Golden State Warriors, backs against the wall, have the opportunity to make history and erase the biggest blemish on their dynastic five-year run. An absent superstar’s shadow hangs over everything.
It feels like it’s been weeks since Game 4 back in Oakland — far too much time to run through different possibilities and scenarios and contingencies. As we head into Game 5 at Scotiabank Arena, here are five matchup keys that have been on my mind.
Durant’s potential return
Looming over everything is the potential return of Kevin Durant. Durant practiced Sunday, the most progress he’s made yet in his recovery. He was also upgraded to questionable on the team’s injury report Sunday night. Now, there’s a possibility there’s some gamesmanship here — chatter around Durant’s status all series has been incredibly inconsistent — but it would be foolish to operate as if there’s no chance he plays. Should Durant suit up, that obviously changes a lot of things in terms of the Raptors’ approach.