Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse speaks to reporters before a team practice in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, June 12, 2019. The Raptors are scheduled to play the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals on Thursday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

VIDEO: Raptors say they’re simply staying in the moment as Game 6 approaches

Golden State’s 106-105 victory in Game 5 sent the series back to Oracle Arena

There was a predictable sting that pained the Toronto Raptors after Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

They were so close.

And then they had to fly so far.

Whatever they were feeling after Monday night’s loss to Golden State is in the past, which is consistent with the way the Raptors have tried to handle their business throughout playoffs. Game 6 of the title series — one where the Raptors have outplayed the two-time defending champion Warriors — is Thursday night, when Toronto will take a second shot at grabbing its first NBA title.

“The moment is the moment, but we still are staying in it,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “We’re not too up, we’re not too down. We’re just, ‘One game, hey, we lost it.’ Now we’ve got to move on to the next one.”

The next one — the next chance to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy — has arrived.

Golden State’s 106-105 victory in Game 5 sent the series back to Oracle Arena, which the Raptors have basically turned into Jurassic Park West this season. The Raptors are 3-0 on the Warriors’ home floor, all three of those wins coming by double digits, two of them in this series.

Thursday is the last NBA game that’ll be played at Oracle. The place will be rocking.

The Raptors won’t mind whatsoever.

“You’ve got to be a little more tough-minded on the road,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

His team has been tough-minded everywhere.

Take away Golden State’s 18-0 run at Toronto to start the second half of Game 2 — a game where the Warriors still needed a final-seconds 3-pointer from Andre Iguodala to close the win out — and a 9-2 run to pull out a dramatic comeback victory for the champs in Game 5, also in Toronto, this series has largely been controlled by the Raptors.

Not many probably expected that to be the case.

Through five games, the Raptors have been outscored in only four of the 20 quarters. They’ve won every fourth quarter, albeit by small margins. They’ve struggled guarding Klay Thompson — he’s 20 for 35 from 3-point range in the series — but the rest of the Warriors, Stephen Curry included, are being held to 33 per cent from beyond the arc.

And now the Warriors know Kevin Durant’s not coming back to help the cause.

“Toronto is tough to guard because they have got a lot of passers and a lot of shooters and they put you in some difficult spots,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But everybody who came in (Monday) was prepared to play and they were flying around and rotating. We did everything we could to hang in the game on the road and we were able to pull it out. So we know that’s what it’s going to take here as well.”

Raptors coach Nick Nurse, to his credit, hasn’t changed his principles much during the playoffs. When his team was down 1-0 to Orlando, down 2-1 to Philadelphia and down 2-0 to Milwaukee, he kept insisting that the score of the series doesn’t matter until someone wins four games.

READ MORE: Stayin’ Alive: Warriors edge Raptors to force Game 6 in NBA Finals

READ MORE: ‘Canada is sorry’: Raptors fan sends Kevin Durant flowers to apologize for cheering injury

Same rules apply now.

Up 3-1, now up 3-2, it’s still eyes on the prize — even though the ultimate prize was seconds away from being in hand Monday.

“They all hit you hard,” Nurse said. “Listen, I’m like anybody that was there. The outcome of that one changes things a little bit. But I’ll say this: I’m absolutely thrilled to be coaching in another finals game. This is awesome.”

One last win, and it’ll be the most awesome night in Raptors history.

And the missed chance of Game 5 will be forgotten.

“You don’t want to dwell on it, you don’t want to harp on it, you don’t want to let it seep in or leak out or let it drain you, because that can be an emotional blow if you let it,” Raptors guard Danny Green said. “But we don’t want it to be an emotional blow to our team. We want to stay physically and mentally and emotionally confident and not doubt ourselves and understand that we know we can play better.”

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

Restaurants adjust to loosened restrictions

Gateway Grill in Clearwater is one of the establishments that’s reopened its doors to in-house guests

Going above and beyond the call of duty

“She does it out of the goodness of her heart … she loves seeing the results.”

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

Most Read