Dramatic, unpredictable, entertaining –  last 3 minutes of NBA Finals game 5. Situation were changing every possession. Raptors were so close to win their first NBA Title but now we will be able to see one more last game in Oracle Arena (Warriors will move to new basketball venue next season).

Only 1 of 34 times team who was down 1:3 in NBA Finals won NBA Title. It was 2016 Cavaliers team (vs. Golden State) – “The Cavaliers won the next three games to become the first team in Finals history to successfully overcome a 3–1 deficit. ”

Toronto Raptors had a 94% chance to win NBA Title when 2:59 was left on game clock and they had a ball.

Chances to win NBA

The worst time-out ever?

Time Out toront

Time-out Nurse

71% of NBA basketball fans voted that Coach Nick Nurse time-out 3 minutes before the end of game negatively affected Raptors performance…

“We had two free ones that you lose under the three-minute mark, and we just came across and just decided to give those guys a rest, and we had back-to-back ones there that we would have lost them under the three-minute mark, and just thought we could use the extra energy push,” Nurse explained after the game.


If someone work as a coach he knows that if team wins every decision you made was right and vice-versa. Anyway, let’s start to take a look on what happened in last 3 minutes of the NBA Finals Game 5.


Kawhi drives to the basket and draws the foul. Toronto ball. 2:59 left on game clock and Raptors lead by 6 points – 103:97.

SOB play. The idea is to get the ball to Kawhi hands so he can play 1vs1. 

Tor 7

Tor 8


6 seconds before end of shot clock, Kawhi missed tough fade-away shot.



Golden State attack. Curry passes to Cook who slips the screen. Aggressive defense by Kawhi don’t allow Klay to receive the ball. Cook passes back to Curry who plays PNR with Green. Green also slips the screen since Raptors was about to TRAP Curry (2 players on Curry) and not even looking towards the ball he automatically set off-ball screen for Klay. Quick re-screen allowed Klay to get open look. 3 points! Lowry who was guarding Green was hesitating to recover back to Green after ball was passed out of trap. 

Tor 9




Most of the time teams don’t score directly because of play which is drawn by coach but plays often creates situations where players can PLAY BY PRINCIPLE and make decisions by themselves.



Toronto ball. Lowry passes ball to Gasol (high-post) who is well known as great passing big and sets the screen for Kawhi. Klay do a great job defending Kawhi. Leonard reads situation and don’t fight through aggressive defense but simply back-cuts towards the basket. X4 (Green) had to “give help” to prevent Kawhi to score easy lay-up. It allowed Lowry to get wide open 3 after moving behind three-point line.


Aggressive defense KLAY


2 players on Kawhi



Transition PNR (Drag). Curry attempts 3-pointer/Cousins rolls to the basket. Put back dunk. Tough decision for refs. No basket. Toronto ball.

Cousing putback



Toronto ball. Lots of pick-and-rolls but great defense by Warriors didn’t allow Raptors players even to attempt a shot. Bad pass by Lowry at the end of the possession.

33cpqg (1)



Warriors inbound the ball from side-line. Play for Curry. Curry comes from staggered screen and makes 3-point shot that not many players even in NBA can make in clutch moments. 3 POINTS!



X2 (VanVleet) did a good job trailing Curry but X5 (Gasol) stayed with screener (5) and didn’t help X2. If X5 helps too much it could cost easy lay-up because of 5 can cut to the basket, if X5 doesn’t help at all as it’s in this case it allows player who is coming off the screen to have a bigger chance for good shot attempt.

Defense on Curry



Simple offense by Toronto. Ball to Kawhi. 1vs1, missed 3-point shot.



Defensive rebound by Curry let’s him start Warriors transition offense without hesitation and attack before defense is set. Curry drives to basket and passes to Igoudala, Igoudala to Green, Green to Thompson. Shot fake + 1 dribble = 3-points. Great ball-movement by Steve Kerr’s team.



GSW 9-0


Time-Out Toronto. 1 time-out left. Out of time play. Lowry/Gasol PNR. Gasol missed lay-up. Great defense by Cousins contesting shot/avoiding foul at the same time.

Tor 5

Tor 6



Veteran Gasol and Curry’s defender traps Curry, Cousins didn’t the ball. Curry passes the ball to Green. Green steps on half-court line.


Trap Curry

Green steps on line



Toronto High PNR (in the middle of the floor). SWITCH. Lowry attacks switch (Cousins) and scores 2 points (goal-tending). 



Full-court press by Toronto. Same Warriors play as before when Curry scored 3-pointer but this time Cousins commits an offensive foul. Great anticipation and defense by VanVleet this time not allowing Curry to shoot 3-pointer.

Curry van vleet defense

Too aggressive perimeter defense often allows offensive player to cut towards the basket but this time it worked out well except Cousins had offensive foul.

33crfi (1)




NO time-out? Coach Nick Nurse decided not to use his last time out but to trust his players to make best decisions by themselves.

“I was confident we would come down and play and make the right decisions and get a good shot,” Nurse said. “I have a lot of faith in those guys.” (https://nba.nbcsports.com/2019/06/11/nick-nurse-no-timeout-kawhi-leonard-passing-kyle-lowry-missing-defend-handling-of-raptors-last-possession/).

Toronto last possession. Chance to win the NBA title!!! Kawhi finally receives the ball and he has 8.5 seconds to make a game-winning play.


Igoudala – experience , sixth sense? Great trap and ball is out of Kawhi’s hands.

Igoudala risk

Igoudala trap

Kawhi passes to VanVleet (3.5 seconds left) , he passes ball to Lowry = missed 3-point shot by Lowry.

Lowry’s shot was blocked and we’ll see the last Warriors NBA game in Oracle Arena before they moving to new arena.


One of the most entertaining NBA Finals game of all time!

Pray for KD! All the best wishes to Kevin Durant to recover from his injury…


Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com



Author: abouthegame

Basketball coaching/sports data

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