Raptors have no choice but to refocus, respond in Game 6 after letting NBA title slip away

first_imgWith seconds ticking down on Toronto’s final possession, Kyle Lowry’s buzzer-beater was blocked by Draymond Green, who sent the ball out of bounds to the utter dismay of the hometown crowd.No one said it would be easy.WHAT A FINISH.The final shot is off, and it’s headed back to Oracle. pic.twitter.com/PDSoD0O1N4— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 11, 2019MORE: Takeaways from Warriors’ thrilling Game 5 win over RaptorsThe Warriors were a desperate team on the brink of elimination, and they played that way from the outset. They pulled out all the stops Monday night, starting Kevin Durant despite the fact he had not played since suffering a right calf strain during Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. Durant was brilliant, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes before leaving the court — and the arena — with what appeared to be an Achilles tendon injury.And yet, with the threat of Durant gone, Toronto still couldn’t put the final nail in the coffin.Facing adversity and being involved in a 3-1 series is nothing new to Golden State. In 2016, the Warriors came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Thunder in the Western Conference finals, only to blow a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals that same year. Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked prior to the game about what stood out with those series.”Same thing that stands out in every series that I’ve ever been involved in, player, coach, GM — one game turns a series,” Kerr said. “It changes the momentum. It changes the feel. And so the whole focus is just win a game. So you don’t need to look beyond tonight. You just need to go out and play well and win a game and then go from there.”Golden State now has that one win under its belt. The big question is how Toronto reacts.The Raptors have proven themselves to be the dominant team all series and have gone about their business with the focus and determination of a group that is used to playing on the NBA’s biggest stage. They still have two more chances to bring Toronto its first NBA title, but they are going to have to respond like champions against the defending champions.”We don’t really have much of a choice,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said when asked how confident he was in his team’s ability to respond in Game 6. “And, I think that our team has reacted well all year long great to bad losses, and I would say it takes a lot to beat this team, and that took a hell of a lot of blows and a heck of a lot of balls bouncing the wrong way in the last couple of minutes for us to come out on the wrong side of it tonight.”MORE: Raptors players quiet classless fans who cheered Durant’s injuryToronto is confident it can win the series, but that doesn’t mean the team is looking too far ahead. Lowry said at no point with the Raptors up by six points did it creep into his mind that they were going to finish it off.”No, we stayed in the moment,” Lowry said. “They came back and made three straight threes. Played some good defense down the stretch. We just missed some shots, and they did what they were supposed to do.”Regardless of what angle you look at it, the Raptors let this one get away. When asked about the tone in the locker room after battling back from down by 14 points to being just one shot away from a championship, veteran center Marc Gasol said it was nothing new. TORONTO — On the precipice of history with a chance to close out the NBA Finals on their own court, the Raptors were unable to seal the deal, falling to the Warriors by a final score of 106-105 to send the series back to Oakland for Game 6 on Thursday night.The Raptors struggled throughout Game 5 from the outside, hitting just 8-of-32 (25.0 percent) on 3-point attempts, but they took over in the fourth quarter, with Kawhi Leonard at one point going on his own personal 10-0 run. Up by six points with less than three minutes to go in the game, though, the Raptors failed to close it out, thanks in part to a 9-0 run by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. “We’ve done it all playoffs long,” Gasol said. “We’re going to continue to battle. We’re going to continue to fight, no matter the score.”The Raptors will once again have a chance to close it out at Oracle Arena. They are saying all the right things, but only their performance in Game 6 will reveal the impact of a lost opportunity.”Each game in these playoffs feels like a must-win, a critical game,” Nurse said, “and that’s how we’re approaching it.”last_img read more

Pete Frates, inspiration behind the viral ‘Ice Bucket Challenge,’ dies at 34

first_imgPete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who inpsired the “Ice Bucket Challenge” social media craze and raised millions of dollars for ALS research, died Monday, his family announced. He was 34.Frates, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2012 at age 27, started the movement in 2014 by dumping a bucket of cold water over his head and posting the video to social media, encouraging others to join in. It went viral and raised more than $220 million in donations. “Remarkably, Pete never complained about his illness. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families. In his lifetime, he was determined to change the trajectory of a disease that had no treatment or cure. As a result, through his determination — along with his faithful supporters, Team Frate Train — he championed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In August of 2014, the historic movement pioneered social media fundraising and garnered donations globally that resulted in better access to ALS care, genetic discoveries, treatments and, someday, a cure. He was a beacon of hope for all.”Frates, who played baseball for Boston College between 2004 and 2007, was named captain of the Eagles his senior year. Frates also played baseball overseas in the German Baseball League and coached youth to play the sport.The ice bucket from Frates’ orginal video now resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame, where it was donated in 2017. “A natural born leader and the ultimate teammate, Pete was a role model for all, especially young athletes, who looked up to him for his bravery and unwavering positive spirit in the face of adversity,” the Frates family said in a statement, released by Boston College. “He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others.last_img read more