Warriors rally with and without Kevin Durant to force Game 6 in NBA Finals

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TORONTO – Questions have loomed all season about Kevin Durant‘s future with the Warriors. Even more questions will arise after he left Game 5 with an apparent aggravation of his leg injury.

But thanks to a late flurry of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry 3-pointers, those queries will focus on Durant’s availability for Game 6 Thursday.

Thompson hit two 3s and Curry hit another as Golden State ended Game 5 on a 9-2 run to steal a 106-105 victory over the Raptors.

Kyle Lowry‘s missed shot at the buzzer extends the Finals to a Game 6 in Oakland, but Toronto leads 3-2. Especially if Durant can’t play – the Warriors said he’ll get an MRI Tuesday – the Raptors should remain series favorite.

Series results for teams that won Game 5 on the road to force a home Game 6 down 3-2:

  • Lost in 6: 56%
  • Lost in 7: 36%
  • Won in 7: 8%

Still, Golden State ought to feel great about getting this far. This was a tough environment, with thousands of fans inside and outside the arena eager for a championship celebration.

Durant returned from a month-long absence, played well, left the game early in the second quarter due to an apparent aggravation of his leg injury then missed the rest of the contest.

But Curry (31 points) and Thompson (26 points) stepped up.

Durant, starting in the death lineup, did plenty before exiting. With 11 points in 12 minutes, he became the first player to enter an NBA Finals this deep into the series and score double digits in his first game.

DeMarcus Cousins made several big plays after Durant’s injury, but also got picked on defensively. Draymond Green mixed impressive and volatile influence on the game.

This was a balanced effort from a team that could be down a key cog going forward. The persistent and persnickety question still looms:

Do the Warriors need Kevin Durant?

The way he looked as he left the arena on crutches, they might hope the answer is no.