SCOTIABANK ARENA [PeterPaul.ca] — The stage was set with the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the building but the home team couldn’t close it out in front of a sold-out crowd.
The Golden State Warriors fought off elimination late Monday, defeating the Toronto Raptors 106-105 extending the series 3-2 against a surging Raptors team led by Kawhi Leonard.
The crowd was pumped and ready to celebrate with just minutes left in the fourth quarter but the Warriors tied it up with a few baskets with just seconds to spare. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry missed a three-point attempt in the closing seconds, a shot that was barely tipped by Warriors star Draymond Green.
The NBA said in their Last Two Minute Report that the Raptors had the last four disadvantaged plays, non-calls where fouls were committed, in the final seconds of the game. This includes a play where Centre Marc Gasol was fouled by Green with seven seconds remaining but there was no foul call. The Warriors were disadvantaged four times during the game, the report said.
Outside, thousands more watched the game and left with mixed emotions: hope that the Raptors could still win a championship after the latest loss but disappointment also that they had failed to close the series.
In the hours prior to tipoff, restaurants and other businesses around a crowded Jurassic Park were bustling with Raptors fans while across Canada, dozens of other viewing parties were setup including one at the home Canadian basketball founder James Naismith.
Meanwhile at Oracle Arena, fans watched the game from inside the stadium and were seen cheering after the final buzzer sounded.
The two best teams in the NBA will face each other next on Thursday at 9 PM from Oracle Arena in Oakland. It’s expected to be a sentimental game at Oracle, which hosts its last NBA Finals before the Warriors move to Sacramento next season.
If required, the Raptors would host a game seven on Sunday from Toronto with tipoff scheduled for 9 PM.