Photo credit: nba.com/warriors
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors were hoping to even the series against the Toronto Raptors Friday night at Oracle Arena. The Warriors had two things going for them. Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney, who were both injured in Game 2 of the series, were cleared to play. The second factor was the crowd at Oracle. The fans were behind the team for the entire game, and the noise level was unbelievable.
The Raptors’ game plan was to double team Curry every time he touched the ball and not let him make three-point shots. The Warriors needed Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, and Andre Iguodala to help out putting points on the board. The Warriors knew that if they were going to win, they would have to shut down the Toronto offense.
The Warriors won the first half 46-42. It was a defensive struggle for the entire 24 minutes of action. Both teams didn’t shoot well at the start of the game. The Warriors defense was terrific. Toronto’s three-point shooter, Danny Green, was held to zero points for the first 24 minutes. They held Pascal Siakam to six. Kawhi Leonard scored 14 to keep Toronto close. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 14 points. The Raptors held Curry to just 8. Kevon Looney was terrific. Everyone thought he was out for the rest of the series. He implored the doctors to check him, and they cleared him to play. Kevon responded with 8 big points. Toronto knew if they could stay within 5 points of the lead at halftime, they had a chance to win.
The Raptors took it to the Warriors in the third quarter. They made five threes, and Leonard knocked 17 points to propel Toronto to a 79-67 advantage at the end of three quarters.
The Warriors knew that it would be difficult to overcome a twelve -point lead in the final 12 minutes of play. They tried, but Toronto answered every Warrior bucket with a bucket of their own. They continued to pressure Curry, and as much as he wished, he could not bring the Warriors back. The Warriors fell to Toronto 105-92 and now trail the series 3-1. The next game will be played in Toronto Monday night.
Game Notes: The Raptors won the game on the strength of their third-period outburst. They connected on eight three in the second half. The Warriors made six. The Raptors had 24 shots from the free throw line and made 23. The Warriors made 14 in 21 tries. On defense, the Raptors had 12 steals and four blocked shots. The Warriors did a poor job of handling the ball. They turned the ball over 17 times. The Raptors committed nine.
Klay led the Warriors with 28. Steph had 27. Draymond Green and Kevon Looney were the only other Warriors in double figures. They each scored 10. Cousins had six, and Iguodala had three. The Warrior bench, other than Looney, added eight.
Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard led his team with 36 points and 12 rebounds. Leonard knocked down five threes. Serge Ibaka had 20, and Pascal Siakam added 19. Kyle Lowry scored 10, and Fred VanVleet had eight. VanVleet, who hounded Curry all night long, left the game with a cut under his right eye. He went to the locker room, and the wound was closed with seven stitches.
The Warriors’ Kevin Durant was not cleared to play again. The doctors would not let him practice, and it is becoming apparent that Durant may not play at all in the series.
If the Warriors lose Monday night, they will no longer play another game at Oracle Arena. The team moves to the Chase Center in San Francisco for the 2019-2020 season.
The last team to come back from a 3-1 deficit and to win on the home team’s court was the Cleveland Cavaliers. They did it to win the 2016 NBA Championship over the Warriors.