The Golden State Warriors will host the Toronto Raptors for Game 6 of the NBA Finals tonight.
With a Warriors win, Golden State will force a Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday. With a Warriors loss, the Raptors will be crowned NBA champions for the first time in the franchise's history.
Ahead of what should be a thrilling Game 6, two members from our NBA.com Staff played Fact or Fiction for the game's biggest storylines.
Nick Nurse's timeout at the end of Game 5 cost the Raptors a championship
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): Fiction. While I understand the narrative that Nurse's timeout during his own team's big run in the fourth quarter stymied the Raptors' momentum, they had more than enough opportunities to get the job done. That timeout was just one thing among a group of many that contributed towards the Game 5 loss, any of which could be singled out.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Fiction. A six-point lead is nothing for these Warriors to overcome, as they proved for what feels like the millionth time in Game 5. Plus, there were plenty of other variables at play at the end of the game, like Kyle Lowry missing a wide open 3-pointer with around two minutes to play that might've served as the nail in the coffin had he made it.
The Warriors should be favoured to win Game 6
Adams: Fiction. It feels like the Warriors being favoured is more of a sign of respect for what they've been in the past as opposed to what they are in the present. Including the regular season matchup with the Raptors, they've been outscored in 10 of the 12 quarters this season at Oracle Arena.
Rafferty: Fiction. The game is at Oracle Arena, but the Raptors have already beaten the Warriors twice on their homecourt already in these Finals and Golden State will be without Kevin Durant while Kevon Looney is questionable. Raptors should be favoured.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will combine for at least 70 points
Adams: Fact. They've only done it once as teammates in the playoffs. Coincidentally, that came in a Game 6 back in 2016 against the Thunder in which they trailed 3-2. They dropped 72 in that one and I expect even more in this one.
Rafferty: Fiction. As Micah said, they've only done it once in the playoffs before. Knowing what's at stake, I think the Raptors will be extra aggressive on both Curry and Thompson, living with other Warriors beating them if it comes down to it.
Kawhi Leonard has to be the best player on the floor for the Raptors to win
Adams: Fiction. He might be the best player, but I don't think he has to be the best player. The Raptors supporting cast is far superior to the Warriors, which means they can win even if Leonard doesn't deliver an A+ performance.
Rafferty: Fact. It's going to be a crazy environment, with it being the last game ever at Oracle Arena and the Warriors needing a win to keep their season alive. The Raptors need Leonard to lead the way on both ends.
Pascal Siakam will bounce back from a rough Game 5
Adams: Fiction. As it stands right now, Siakam can't throw Spalding in the ocean, let alone the baskets. Forget looking at just Game 5, he's 0-12 from 3 over his last four games, with all of them wide open and many of them not even close. He's in prove it mode.
Rafferty: Fact. Siakam has bounced back time and time again in these playoffs. He's already done it once in these Finals - after scoring 12 points on 5-for-18 shooting from the field in Game 2, he went for an efficient 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Game 3 - and I wouldn't be surprised to see him do it again in Game 6.
The Warriors will get another big game out of DeMarcus Cousins
Adams: Fiction. Similar to Siakam, Cousins is another "prove it" player. It's hard to overestimate how much he struggled in Games 3 and 4, so much to the point where it looked like he might not play in Game 5 prior to Durant's injury. He's been too much of a roller coaster to expect strong performances in back-to-back games.
Rafferty: Fiction. It's hard for me to get over the fact that the two games Cousins played well in this series were when little was expected of him. The Warriors need him to play well in Game 6 to have a chance of winning without Durant, and after suffering the injury he did early in the playoffs, I'm not confident enough to say he'll deliver.
Draymond Green will pick up another technical foul
Adams: Fact. I can't believe we're in this situation, but somehow Green is one technical foul away from serving a one-game suspension. We could have a scenario in which the Warriors somehow win Game 6 but lose Green for Game 7 as he picks up his seventh technical of the playoffs. I bet he picks up a technical ... only for the league to rescind it, thus to not have that cloud hang over a potential Game 7.
Rafferty: Fiction. Green knows what's at stake if he picks up another technical - a one-game suspension, which would be Game 7 if Golden State keeps its season alive. The Warriors can only hope he's learned from his mistake in 2016.
If the Raptors win, Kawhi Leonard will win Finals MVP
Adams: Fact. It will also give him a second Finals MVP by the age of 27, an accomplishment matched by only Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan. This Finals run puts Leonard on the path to becoming a top 10 player of all-time.
Rafferty: Fact. He's been the best player on the Raptors in the Finals, and it's not particularly close.
If the Raptors win, Kyle Lowry is a Hall of Famer
Adams: Fiction. A championship will certainly help change Lowry's perception. He's a very good player and a true leader. But it's not the Hall of Very Good.
Rafferty: Faction. This is my way of saying I don't know. My guts says no, but I think he'll end up having a good enough resume - five-time All-Star, one-time champion, one-time member of All-NBA Third Team - to make it when it's all said and done.
A loss will bring an end to the Warriors dynasty
Adams: Fiction. Assuming they bring back Klay Thompson, they'll still have three All-Stars even if Kevin Durant leaves. And who knows, maybe Durant decides to stay now given his Achilles injury. Regardless of what KD does, it would seem foolish to write off Golden State next season and beyond.
Rafferty: Fiction. Not only do the Warriors still have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green under contract, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins could still be on the team next season. Even if only one of them returns, the Warriors will still be one of the best teams in the league.
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