Kevin Durant expected to play in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors
With just hours to go and a single win standing between the Toronto Raptors and their first-ever NBA championship, Warriors fans have reason to be nervous — but so too do the Raps. More now than ever.
Multiple U.S. news outlets report that Kevin Durant will be back on the court tonight for Game 5 in Toronto after sitting out the entire Finals series to date with a calf injury.
Though the Warriors are saying Kevin Durant (calf) is ‘a game-time decision’ for Game 5 Monday night, he’s expected to be a full go, according to multiple league sources.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleNBCS) June 10, 2019
The NBA All-Star (and two-time Finals MVP) hasn't played for more than a month, since Game 5 of the Golden State Warriors' second-round series against Houston.
Golden State's Kevin Durant plans to play in Game 5 tonight, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 10, 2019
This made it all the more exciting — or, in Toronto's case, worrying — when he was seen practicing with his team on Sunday evening ahead of tonight's critical match-up.
Kevin Durant leaves shootaround a bit early to head to the locker room with head trainer Rick Celebrini: pic.twitter.com/nfkIl3N4To— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) June 10, 2019
Durant spent 25 minutes in a shootaround session yesterday before leaving to get treatment for his calf, according to the NBA.
"He looked good," said coach Steve Kerr to reporters of the practice. "He's been in similar situations with us, where he's had long layoffs. He’s Kevin Durant. So, if we have him out there, he'll be a threat. I know that."
The Warriors said this morning that that it would be a "game time decision" on whether or not to play Durant. The NBA's own injury report still has the small forward's status listed as "questionable."
Despite this, a league source confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle Monday afternoon that Durant "is expected to be fully cleared to play" in tonight's game against the Raptors.
Whether or not Toronto should be worried remains a matter of opinion, for most.
"Although Golden State is still dangerous when [Klay] Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are in the lineup, Durant's importance cannot be understated," writes Bleacher Report's Mike Chiari.
"Prior to getting injured, Durant led all players in playoff scoring with 34.2 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting... Even if Durant isn't 100 percent, having him on the court should force the Raptors to take some of their defensive attention away from the likes of Curry and Thompson."
Game 5 tips off tonight at 9 p.m. at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena.
Should the Raptors win, they'll be Canada's first-ever NBA champions and heroes to the many basketball heads who don't want to the Golden State take home a third consecutive championship.
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