It was the crucial game: The Toronto Raptors had beaten the Golden State Warriors three times in the NBA North American Basketball League final series three times. Only once could the Oakland team beat the Canadians. So it was 3: 1 in the “Best of Seven” series when the fifth game started in the night of Tuesday. The Warriors had to win necessarily – and sat among others on the finally recovered Kevin Durant.
The 30-year-old is considered one of the currently best basketball players in the world – possibly even all times. For the past two seasons he has been voted the “MVP” of the NBA final round. “MVP” stands for “Most Valuable Player” and distinguishes the most important and best player. Now, this probably the most valuable player in the Warriors was ill for a long time – a stubborn calf injury put Durant out of action for well over a month. Game Five was to be a big comeback for the 30-year-old.
Kevin Durant: Serious injury in comeback
But after not even twelve minutes and eleven points was over: The forward injured heavily on the right leg.
After a duel with Toronto's Serge Ibaka, the 30-year-old stopped with a pained face, hobbled to the edge and fell to the ground there. Immediately he touched his right leg. Teammates and supervisors then escorted him outside.
A video shows the decisive moment:
Warriors manager Myers confirms Achilles tendon injury
Immediately it was speculated that Durant had injured his Achilles tendon. Team manager Bob Myers confirmed this at the subsequent press conference. However, he was unable to say anything specific about the nature and severity of the injury. On Tuesday, Durant's leg was to take an MRI scan.
Anyway, Myers had to wrestle for words from the journalists, snorted several times and almost burst into tears. Durant's fate was noticeable to the team manager. He does not think there's a culprit, he said in a fragile voice, “but if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball division.”
The horror of the Warriors is huge: Journalist Rachel Nichols reported on Twitter that she had shown Durant's team-mate Steph Curry a video of the press conference in the locker room. He also burst into tears, searched Myers and hugged him.
Thompson: “Durant is the best player in the world”
Durant's importance to the club was also expressed by his team-mate Klay Thompson: “We are a pretty good team without him, but with him we are one of the best teams ever to play.” Durant is “the best player in the world.” One has seen “what he is capable of (…) He has put his health at risk and we miss him madly on the floor.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr added, “I'm devastated by Kevin.”
Even with the opponent, the sympathy was great: “It's devastating,” said Kawhi Leonard of the Raptors, “you work so hard to get to that point.” He wished Durant a speedy recovery.
The 30-year-old can end his contract at the end of the season. Recently, there had been speculation over and over again, if his calf injury might just be an excuse not to intervene with the Warriors anymore. Team manager Myers made it clear, “To tell you something about Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people who questioned whether he wants to return to the team were wrong,” he said in tears.
Raptors vs Warriors: Crime on the field
After Durant's departure, a battle of nerves raged on the field. Who would win the game, was literally open until the very last second. Raptors professional Kyle Lowry awarded with the final siren the throw for possible victory. In the end, the Warriors won 106: 105.
Game Six is on the night of Friday, this time in California. Again, the Warriors must win to maintain the chance of the title. In a win, it would be in the final series 3: 3, the crucial seventh match would then be held in the night to Monday in Toronto.