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No need for speeches as Warriors vow to go down fighting on Oakland farewell

Some will ‘play for’ Kevin Durant, others will find inspiration in tomorrow marking their last game at the Oracle Arena.

THE CANADIAN PRESS 2019-06-10 Kevin Durant walks off injured in Toronto. Source: Chris Young

PERHAPS INSPIRED BY injured team-mate Kevin Durant, or facing an emotional must-win game, the Golden State Warriors are counting on their resilience to stay alive in the NBA Finals tomorrow night.

The defending champions, seeking a third consecutive title and fourth in five seasons, host the Toronto Raptors in game six Thursday night / Friday morning needing a victory to pull level at 3-3 and force a game seven Sunday at Toronto.

“We’re going to have to will ourselves for another 48 minutes to stay alive,” Warriors guard Steph Curry said, “and whatever it’s going to take from every single guy in our jersey.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be a speech in the locker room, if there’s going to need to be words at all. We understand the moment and I think we can rally.”

Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, sat out a month with a right calf injury before making a return in game five Monday only to go down with a right Achilles tendon injury, needing help to leave the court and crutches to exit the arena.

The 30-year-old superstar’s brief comeback effort, leading the Warriors in the playoffs with 34.2 points a game, has provided extra motivation for the teammates who saw him give everything he had in the championship quest.

“We’ll be suiting up in front of Oracle Arena and with the amazing atmosphere and opportunity to play for him, and to kind of honor the sacrifice he made in terms of putting his body on the line,” Curry said.

“We’re going to give everything we got. We’re going to fight. We’re going to compete.”

NBA Finals Basketball Curry celebrates a win in Toronto to deny the Raptors. Source: Chris Young

Golden State guard Klay Thompson will give his efforts in tribute to Durant.

“It obviously inspires you to play harder knowing your best player can’t be out there,” Thompson said. “You think of him every time you dive for a loose ball or go for a rebound, because I know him and I know how bad he wants to be out there.”

Only once in 34 opportunities has a team that trailed 3-1 in the NBA Finals won the title, that coming in 2016 when LeBron James rallied the Cavaliers to oust the Warriors. Only three teams have even forced a Game 7.

“When we step back on our floor for game six, that’s all that matters,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said.

THE CANADIAN PRESS 2019-06-10 Draymond Green drives to the net. Source: Kyle Terada

Everybody is facing fatigue at this point. No one cares who is tired or if you’re facing a little fatigue. You’ve got to do what you came here to do anyway.”

Warriors forward Kevon Looney has a chest injury. Andre Iguodala has a calf injury. But everyone with nagging pain knows they can rest next week.

“It’s a team full of heart. It’s as simple as that,” Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins said.

“We’re fighters. It’s in our DNA. We’re going to go down fighting. Period.”

The Warriors will be playing their final game at Oracle Arena, their home venue since 1971. They leave the NBA’s oldest arena for a new $1 billion home in San Francisco next season and hope to exit Oakland as winners after two earlier finals home losses to the Raptors.

“The biggest advantage is being at Oracle Arena one more time, where our fans can really get behind us,” Curry said.

“We’ll be ready for it, but there’s no more statements needed to be made about who we are as a team and our heart and our competitiveness.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson at the rim. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“We want to win this championship. We’re going to give everything we got, but I think we’re done with proving people wrong or making bold statements with our play. People know who we are.”

For the Raptors, top scorer Kawhi Leonard says the secret is to keep doing what put them one win from the first title in their 24-season history and the first by any team from outside the United States.

“Just try to come out and match that emotion and drive, come out and do the same thing, just be mentally focused, try to limit our mistakes and be the aggressor,” Leonard said. “Just play hard 48 minutes and see what happens. Play confident.”

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