After Kyle Lowry’s corner 3-point attempt was partially blocked by Draymond Green and consequently clanked off the side of the backboard, the Golden State Warriors escaped Scotiabank Arena with a 106-105 win, giving their beloved Oracle Arena one more night of loud roars and pre-game chants of ‘War-ree-orrrrs’ while taking on the Toronto Raptors in a crucial Game 6.
Having lost Kevin Durant for the remainder of the season during a bittersweet Game 5 win, Golden State will have to dig deep into its past, channeling their endeared motto of “We Believe” one last time, given the stakes of these NBA Finals.
The Warriors are hoping to be only the second team to come back from a 3-1 deficit, and they will have to do it the hard way, after losing their X-factor in Durant and being in the wrong end of history, when they infamously gave away their 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 — a devastating loss that ultimately brought KD to the Bay Area.
This time around, Golden State can bring it full circle and overcome their own demons by doing something they’ve done before, but lacing it up by completing a three-peat in the most heroic of ways.
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“We Believe” is more than one of the most known playoff mottos in recent memory, but the all-around significance of a fan base that believes in its team, even if they are underdogs.
Having lost Durant and racing a plethora of zombies onto the court, the Warriors once again find themselves as underdogs, not nearly as massive as they were coming up as an eighth seed against the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in 2007, but nonetheless the team with the slimmer odds to wind up a champion.
This roster is seeing the effects of playing in five straight runs to The Finals, as the bodies of Stephen Curry (dislocated finger), Klay Thompson (strained hamstring) and Andre Iguodala (multiple lower-body injuries) have all experienced significant injuries throughout this playoff run.
Add DeMarcus Cousins (torn quad) and Kevon Looney (collarbone) to the mix, and this team has been a horde of zombies limping their way to the finish line.
The Warriors have mustered their lone two wins of the NBA Finals thanks to a 18-0 third-quarter flurry in Game 2 and a postseason-high 20 3-pointers made in Game 5, including three timely ones toward the end of regulation.
The Raptors have simply out-paced and out-strategized the Warriors, being the faster, fresher, better-executing team throughout the series.
Golden State has an uphill battle to fight in these last two games and they can no longer rely on their trusty Strength In Numbers motto, as this bench unit is among the thinnest this franchise has had in the last five years.
The Warriors can no longer rely on the savvy veteran play of their bench, as Jordan Bell has proven unreliable, Damian Jones has been out of action for way too long and Jonas Jerebko hasn’t made enough open shots to make up for his defensive shortcomings.
Instead, they will be forced to assume the role of underdog and dig deep one last time in front of the Oakland faithful to give themselves a chance to make history in Game 7.
The road is daunting, but so it was when a band of misfits like Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington and key role players like Matt Barnes joined forces to make a run that is still remembered across league circles.
Those 2006-07 Warriors had something to fight for, their coach, Don Nelson. Twelve years later, these Warriors will be motivated by the loss of Kevin Durant, who put it all on the line to help this team overcome a 3-1 deficit the rest of the way.
Not many teams can return to their origins successfully after more than a decade, but these Warriors are tailor-suited to carry this motto for the last time at “Roaracle,” as well as for a potential Game 7, should the crowd and their guts power them past a battle-proven Raptors team.