While Game 5 of the NBA finals finished in thrilling fashion with “to be continued” tagged to the ending before the credits rolled, it was the critical scene with 9:46 left in the second quarter that forever altered the outcome many had expected.
Kevin Durant, arguably one of the greatest basketball players the world has ever seen, went down with an achilles injury after scoring 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting and two rebounds in 12 minutes.
The emotional roller coaster of a game left Warriors players feeling bittersweet about their near-elimination, even though they have earned the right to play at Oracle arena in Oakland once again for game six.
The reaction to Durant’s injury from players throughout the league was touching. With even the Raptors players telling fans to not cheer for the wounded athlete. The players often speak about “Brotherhood” in interviews, and its moments such as these when it shines through brightest.
Situations like last night have the power to shift not just the course of the finals but the off-season as well. Much speculation has followed what Durant would do, and both fans and teams have been itching to get their shot at courting the superstar. For now, it looks like they’ll have to wait.
While it’s tempting to look at the horizon, there are pressing matters at hand. As the series has unfolded, the Raptors have stepped up to every challenge, proving time and time again that they belong on the biggest stage. #WeTheNorth has carried them all season long and proved to be the mantra Canadian fans needed to rally behind Kawhi Leonard and their team.
They have forged into formidable opponents proving to be the literal achilles heel for the Warriors. It will make Thursday night’s highly anticipated match-up all the more compelling.