The Latest from Monday night’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals (all times local):
Kevin Durant is back, and the Golden State Warriors couldn’t miss to open Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
The Warriors were 5 for 5 from 3-point range in the first 5 minutes to build a quick early lead over the Toronto Raptors. Durant made his first two shots, both from beyond the arc.
The early trouble spot for the Warriors is Klay Thompson’s foul situation — he picked up a quick two personals.
Kevin Durant’s return to the Golden State Warriors’ starting lineup sent DeMarcus Cousins to the backup unit.
It was the “Hamptons 5” to start Game 5 for the defending champions.
The Warriors started Game 5 of the NBA Finals with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at guard, with Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala in the frontcourt.
Golden State has gone 3-2 in these playoffs when starting that lineup.
Toronto enters the night leading the series 3-1 and seeking its first NBA title. The Raptors usual lineup has started Game 5: Kyle Lowry and Danny Green at guard, Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam at forward and Marc Gasol at center.
“The Great One” is in Toronto to see if the Raptors can win their first one.
Hockey icon Wayne Gretzky is among the celebrities at Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto. Several other big names from the sports world are in the crowd as well — including Canadian tennis star and former NBA All-Star Celebrity Game player Eugenie Bouchard, soccer’s Thierry Henry and Jonathan de Guzmán and hockey’s Claude Giroux and Evander Kane.
There are also plenty of actors as well, including Chris Tucker and the father-and-son duo of Eugene Levy and Dan Levy.
Kevin Durant is returning to the Golden State lineup.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr says Durant will play in Game 5, with the two-time defending champions facing elimination. Durant had missed Golden State’s last nine games with a strained calf.
The 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP was cleared by the Warriors’ medical staff last week to attempt a return. Durant practiced Sunday and was a full participant in the Warriors’ shootaround practice Monday.
Durant had a 51-point game in Toronto against the Raptors in November.
The NBA says some portion of Game 4 of the NBA Finals was watched by almost 11 million Canadians, setting another viewership record in that country.
The average audience in Canada for Toronto’s Game 4 win over Golden State was 4.9 million viewers, nearly 600 percent more than the country’s number for Game 4 of last year’s series between Golden State and Cleveland. Combining the average audience in the U.S. and Canada, the 17.7 million viewers for Game 4 was up 4 percent over Game 4 of the finals last season.
Entering Monday’s fifth game of the series, roughly 16 million Canadians — in a country of about 37 million — have watched at least some part of the finals.
The Toronto Raptors can win their first championship and end Golden State’s quest for three in a row with one more victory.
The Raptors can do it Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, when Kevin Durant could play for the first time in the series.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr says Durant went through their full morning shootaround and said his ability to play would be determined before the game. Durant, the two-time NBA Finals MVP, has been sidelined more than a month with a strained calf.
Golden State sure could use him after Toronto won both games at Oracle Arena to take a 3-1 lead. That deficit has been overcome only once in the NBA Finals, when Cleveland did it against the Warriors in 2016.
On potentially the biggest night ever for Canadian basketball, the NBA announced there would be no singer for the Canadian national anthem, instead inviting all fans in the arena and across the nation to join in the singing of it.
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