by Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors, playing without Kevin Durant who missed his seventh straight game since suffering a strained calf muscle, found a way to come back from a five-point halftime deficit to defeat the Toronto Raptors 109-104 in Toronto.
With the win, the Warriors now own home court advantage as game three, four, and six will be played at Oracle Arena. The Warriors had two more key players injured in the game Sunday night. Kevon Looney suffered a chest injury in the first half, and he did not return. The other player injured was Klay Thompson. Thompson suffered what appeared to be a thigh or hamstring injury late in the game. Thompson hobbled off the court and was wearing an ice pack, and his leg was heavily bandaged when he gave high fives to his teammates after the game. Hopefully, the damage is not too severe, and he will be able to play on Wednesday.
The Warriors knew that they did not want to leave Toronto down two games to none. The Raptors scheme on Sunday was to not let Steph get open. Curry struggled to get shots but he found his game in the second period and finished the first half with sixteen points. Klay had 18. The Warriors and Steph, in particular, have the hearts of champions. They have been down before but have always found a way to come back and win the game.
The Warriors trailed by five after the first 24 minutes of play. As they have done so many times in the past, they came out smoking to start the third quarter. They went on an 18-0 run to lead 72-59. The run was stopped when Raptors’ Fred VanVleet knocked down a three-pointer. The Warriors maintained the lead until late in the fourth quarter. They led by 12 with a little over five minutes to play. The Raptors defense stopped the Warriors cold. They scored ten straight points and held the Warriors scoreless for over five minutes. The Raptors closed the gap to 106-104. The Raptor fans were on their feet hoping the team from the North would come back and snatch the victory from Golden State. That hope was dashed when the very savvy Andre Iguodala nailed a three-pointer to ice the win. The Warriors win 109-104.
Game Notes and stats- The Warriors started DeMarcus Cousins at the center position Sunday night. Cousins played limited minutes in his first game back last Thursday. On Sunday, he was a force in the middle. Cousins played 28 minutes and had a double-double. He scored eleven points, had ten rebounds, and recorded six assists. Draymond Green had another outstanding game. He almost had a triple-double. Draymond helped out with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. Iguodala tallied 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. His three-point shot with 5.9 seconds left to play helped win the game for the W’s. Klay Thompson led the team with 25, and Curry finished the night with 23. Klay made 4 threes and Steph hit six. Andrew Bogut played 7 minutes and scored three big buckets. Quinn Cook had three threes, and Shaun Livingston pitched in with 6.
The Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard’s 34 points. The Warriors held Pascal Siakam, who scored 32 points in game one Thursday night, to just 12. The big man from Cameroon had 8 board. Marc Gaol was held to 6, and Kyle Lowry 13. Fred VanVleet, coming off Toronto’s bench, knocked down 17.
Game Three of the best-of-seven series will be played at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night. The game will start at 6 pm.