What we thought would happen on paper did happen, this despite an intense effort from the fighting reigning champs.
Toronto Raptors (2-1) beat Golden State Warriors (1-2): 123-109
Curry was on fire, making it clear from the outset of the game that he was not going to go down 2-1 quietly, posting 17 points in the first quarter. Curry closed the game with 47 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists on 14/31 shooting from the field, Curry was slippery all game, often leaving the Raps defence confused as to how they could allow the one player they were paying the majority of their attention on defensively get the ball and make plays.
However, it seemed too much of an un-winnable situation even for the greatest shooter of all time. In a sort of cruel irony, the Warriors didn’t have enough shooting on the floor to effectively spread the floor. The defensive efforts in the 1st and 3rd quarters were disappointing, as the Raptors were easily able to get lanes to the rim and open shots for perimeter shooters.
Leonard was unsurprisingly great, Siakam was effective as a third option and Lowry had his best game of the playoffs to help fend off an incredibly gutsy effort from the Warriors.
The real star for the Raptors however, was Danny Green.
The former Spur definitely didn’t shy away from the moment, shooting 6/10 from three, burying shots at what seemed like every moment they needed one to keep the Bay Area ballers at bay and providing elite defensive highlights like this chase down block of Quin Cook.
It was the quintessential team effort that the Toronto Raptors are known for, with the ball flying around the half court on offence and the defensive cohesion on the highest level for long stretches of the game. The Raps did exactly what everyone thought they should do in a game that did not feature Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Keevon Looney.
However the Raptors didn’t look in control the whole game, with extremely shaky periods, rich with turnovers, stupid fouls and sloppy offensive execution. There were periods in this game where it looked as though the Warriors could sneak away with a home victory, which is incredibly concerning for Raptors fans.
Should Klay remain out of the lineup along with KD, the Raptors should be able to go back north of the border with a 3-1 advantage. However any game 4 that features the return of either Klay or KD (note: Klay is notorious for playing through injury and I would say it’s a lock he plays game 4), is concerning for Nick Nurse and his team.
The Warriors gained steam from the loss today, reminding the fans, media and league that they’ve been here before, they know what they’re doing and they are not afraid to take big chances or take big swings.
It was also a friendly reminder that the Raptors have not been here before, apart from Leonard and Green who were consistently brilliant all night long. It shouldn’t have been that hard for the Raptors to put the Warriors down, which is why I see the Warriors taking game 4.
Next Game @ Golden State: Saturday (8/6) at 11am AEST