Raptors have another shot at making NBA history, clinching championship with Game 6 win
|globalnews.ca 13 Jun 2019 at 04:23|
The Toronto Raptors have a second chance to clinch the NBA Finals Thursday night as the series returns to California for the last time.
The Golden State Warriors, on the verge of elimination from the Finals, eked out a 106-105 win at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.
Looking ahead to Game 6, Stephen Curry said the team is hoping for a win to remain in the series, to pay tribute to Warriors forward Kevin Durant and to have a final win in Oakland’s Oracle Arena before the team moves to the new Chase Center in San Francisco as of the 2019-20 NBA season.
“I don’t think much needs to be said about the motivation that we have or are going to have tomorrow,” Curry said Wednesday afternoon.
“… To protect our home court, feed off our crowd’s energy, play for ‘K’ and try to keep our season alive. There are a lot of things that you can kind of tap into for energy tomorrow. We’ll be ready.”
Coming into Game 5, many eyes were on Durant. He returned to the Golden State lineup Monday night after being sidelined with a calf muscle injury for over a month. However, Durant ruptured his Achilles tendon during the second quarter. In a post on Instagram, he said he had surgery on Tuesday.
Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and the Raptors are playing for Canada’s first NBA crown, not to mention the country’s first major title since the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.
Toronto lead the series 3-2 series and are 3-0 on the Warriors’ home floor this season.
“For some reason I think both teams are really good road teams and have been all season,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
“That’s one thing. Two, two really tough-minded teams playing and you’ve got to be a little more tough-minded on the road. And I think a lot of those games probably could have went either way.”
The Raptors have had a stunning playoff run to date, having defeated the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks to face off in the Finals against the two-time defending champions.
Since the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Raptors President Masai Ujiri set the lofty goal of securing the top NBA title. They acquired Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs along with Danny Green in exchange for DeMar DeRozan. Marc Gasol was later added to the roster at the trade deadline in February.
Thousands of fans are expected to attend viewing parties at Jurassic Park and surrounding streets outside the Scotiabank Arena and cheer on the Raptors. Other cities in Ontario, such as Mississauga, Barrie, Kitchener, Burlington, and across Canada have been holding similar viewing parties throughout the series.
If a Game 7 is needed, it will be held in Toronto on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
The City of Toronto is putting in place road closures and extra transit service in anticipation of thousands of people expected to be downtown for the game.
Maple Leaf Square will be closed to vehicular traffic between 7 a.m. on Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday. York Street from Front Street West to Lake Shore Boulevard West will be closed between 9 a.m. on Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday. Bremner Boulevard from Lower Simcoe Street to Rees Street will be closed between 5 p.m. on Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday.
City officials are also set to close the York-Bay-Yonge exit ramps (from both directions) Thursday night, noting access could be blocked off as early as 10 p.m. If closed, the ramps may not reopen until 4 a.m. on Friday.
GO Transit said after Game 5 on Monday, approximately 20,000 people funneled through Union Station an hour after it ended.
The Union Station GO bus terminal will close during the halftime of Game 6. Routes 61, 65 and 71 will end at Highway 407 subway station. Routes 21 and 31 will end at Port Credit GO station. Route 16 will be suspended all together as passengers will be accommodated on Route 18 between Hamilton and Aldershot GO stations. Train service is not expected to be impacted by Game 5.