MANILA, Philippines – The Golden State Warriors’ masterful 106-105 comeback win in Game 5 of the NBA Finals was short-lived as they confirmed that Kevin Durant has suffered an Achilles injury.
Fighting back tears, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers broke the news in the post-game presser.
“It’s an Achilles injury,” he said. “We don’t know the extent of it. We’ll have an MRI tomorrow.”
Myers took full responsibility for the re-aggravation of Durant’s injury – a long-standing calf strain that got worse as he willed himself to play in the do-or-die Game 5.
“He went through 4 weeks with the medical team,” he continued. “It was thorough [with] experts, multiple MRIs and multiple doctors, and we felt good about the process. He was cleared to play tonight. It was a collaborative decision.”
Durant fired off 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in just 12 minutes on the floor before crumpling back down after doing a crossover move in the 2nd quarter. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that something went wrong with his right leg during the drive.
A closer look at Kevin Durant's right leg injury: pic.twitter.com/XEHPIn9wnW— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 11, 2019
Durant was helped off the court to raucous cheers by Raptors fans and did not return.
The Warriors still have one last consolation left, however, as the series now shifts back for one last game at the Oracle Arena on Thursday, June 13 (Friday, June 14, Philippine time).
Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player and Golden State’s top playoff scorer with 34.2 points a game, left the arena on crutches.
“On the one hand I’m so proud of them, just the amazing heart and grit they showed, and on the other I’m just devastated for Kevin,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
“So it’s a bizarre feeling we all have right now, an incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time.”
The Warriors seek their fourth title in 5 seasons while the Raptors suffered an agonizing near-miss in their bid for the first title in their 24-season history.
Like the old Warriors
Durant had missed 9 playoff games over the past month since being hurt against Houston in the second round, but he briefly made the Warriors look like the team that dominated the past two NBA Finals.
Durant made two early three-pointers as the Warriors hit 7-of-8 shots to open the game, including 5 three-pointers, for a 19-12 edge. But Marc Gasol scored 10 early points as Toronto had a 9-0 run for a 21-19 lead.
Golden State closed the 1st quarter with a 15-7 run for a 34-28 advantage and led 39-34 when disaster struck 2:14 into the second quarter.
Durant planted his right foot while dribbling the ball and pulled up, then sat on the court and grabbed the same sore calf that had sidelined him.
Durant was helped off the court and to the locker room, his dramatic comeback ended far too soon. – With a report from Agence France-Presse