OAKLAND – The Warriors will have plenty of incentive and sentiment on their side Thursday night, and they hope it will be enough to overcome a shorthanded roster struggling to find offense.
The simple goal is to defeat the healthy and imposing Raptors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Win it for the absent Kevin Durant, win it to force a Game 7 in Toronto, win it to provide Oracle Arena with the proper sendoff.
[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Raptors Game 6 online]
Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:00 p.m. PT with Warriors Outsiders, followed by "SNC: Warriors Playoff Central" with tipoff of the ABC telecast scheduled for 6:10.
The Warriors are 6-1 in elimination games under coach Steve Kerr. They also tend to play their best when they have a cause, and they have three.
But scoring has been an issue, and it was made worse when Durant, who missed the first four NBA Finals games, went down early in the second quarter of Game 5. With KD on the court, the Warriors averaged 3.0 points per minute. They averaged only 1.9 points per minute after he left.
Moreover, the Warriors averaged only 100.5 points in Games 3 and 4 in Oakland.
If the Warriors can generate more scoring, they have a path to Game 7. If not, it will be exceedingly difficult to top the Raptors, who are averaging 111.0 points per game in the series.
F Andre Iguodala
F Draymond Green
C DeMarcus Cousins
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry
F Kawhi Leonard
F Pascal Siakam
C Marc Gasol
G Danny Green
G Kyle Lowry
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (R Achilles' tendon surgery) is listed as out. C/F Kevon Looney (R Costal cartilage non-displaced fracture) is listed as questionable.
Raptors G Jordan Loyd (coach's decision) is listed as out.
Warriors: Expect the minutes played by Curry and Thompson to slide into the mid-40s, out of necessity. Thompson has shot well, particularly from deep (20-of-35, 57.1 percent), and may have to find some of his trademark Game 6 magic. Curry's numbers from deep (20-of-56, 35.7) have been below his standard, and the heavy minutes also may be a factor in his efficiency declining in the second half (8-of-26, 30.8) of games.. . . Cousins is the likely starter at C, and the Warriors need him to produce offense. He was very good in Games 2 and 5, fairly awful in Games 3 and 4.. . . If Cousins can't get it going, it's imperative that either Green or Iguodala – or both – shoot their way into double-digit scoring. They'll have opportunities because the Raptors will focus their energy on Curry and Thompson.. . . The bench? This is not a game to be comfortable relying on reserves.
Raptors Coach Nick Nurse has stayed with an eight-man rotation, with C Serge Ibaka, G Fred Van Vleet and G/F Norman Powell coming off the bench. Both Ibaka and VanVleet have hurt the Warriors.. . . Like several Warriors, Leonard has been gutting it out and playing through discomfort. Other than two white-hot minutes, when he drilled four consecutive buckets, he struggled in Game 5 with 5-of-20 shooting.. . . Though the Warriors were mostly solid on defense in Game 5, the Raptors have done a nice job of creating open looks from beyond the arc. They've also been inconsistent in converting. Lowry, Green and Siakam combined for 1-of-14 in Game 5.. . . The Gasol-Cousins is no less crucial for Toronto than it is for the Warriors. The winner of that battle likely will swing the game toward his team.
Officials: G Marc Davis (crew chief), David Guthrie, John Goble, Eric Lewis (alternate).