Good morning, folks. Steph Curry needs some help, ASAP. Let’s talk NBA Finals.
(2) Raptors – 123 @ (1) Warriors – 109 (TOR leads 2-1)
- Kyle Lowry connected on two free throws to open Game 3 in Oracle Arena and the Toronto Raptors took its first lead of the game. They never looked back and beat a short-handed Warriors team 123-109.
- Golden State guard Klay Thompson was listed as questionable all day leading up to just a few short hours prior to tipoff. He landed awkwardly after a three-point attempt in Game 2, tweaking his hamstring, and was forced to sit the final eight minutes of that narrow Warriors win. Thompson was initially listed active as tipoff inched nearer, but hardly an hour later and with only 45 minutes until game time, he was ruled out for the game (against his best wishes). So with Thompson hobbled, Kevon Looney out for the series, and Kevin Durant still not ready, the Warriors were in completely unfamiliar territory. This was the thinnest the Warriors depth has looked in the last five years, and it showed from the opening tip.
- But that didn’t seem to bother Steph Curry. He appeared determined to shoulder the burden of all his missing teammates. Finishing with 47 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, Curry proved in one game why he’s still one of the most criminally underrated superstars of our generation. Curry was the Warriors offense on Wednesday night. Everything ran through him, even when it didn’t directly. He influenced every decision made on the court and it was spectacular to watch him toss up off balance bombs from 25-plus feet. But outside of Curry, the rest of the Warriors looked like something out of a 2015 Cleveland Cavaliers media guide. Quinn Cook scored nine points that all came during necessary moments and Draymond Green posted 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. However, DeMarcus Cousins was lost on both sides of the court after an encouraging Game 2, Andrew Bogut could hardly stay in front of anyone, and Shaun Livingston did nothing during his 17 minutes in place of Thompson. Jordan Bell provided an energetic boost off the bench, but too many minutes forced upon Jonas Jerebko and Alfonzo McKinnie doomed Golden State. In fact, the team was doomed the second the injury report was posted. The Warriors always kept the Raptors within close range, but could never knock the lead to under five points thanks to big bucket after big bucket from several Toronto players.
- Kawhi “The Board Man” Leonard led the Raptors with 30 points, seven rebounds, and six assists while Kyle Lowry and Danny Green combined to shoot 11-19 from beyond the arc. Every time the Warriors would trim a lead down to seven or eight points, one of those three always had an answer. Green especially hit some circus shots that had no business going in, as did Fred VanVleet late in the fourth quarter. Marc Gasol registered 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists after a sluggish Game 2 in which he went for six points on 2-7 shooting (no Looney was huge in this regard). Serge Ibaka came up with three fourth-quarter blocks – and finished with six on the day – that all would have shifted momentum into the Warriors favor had the shots gone in. Pascal Siakam quietly contributed 18 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, as well. It was an all-around performance from the Raptors in a game they had to win.
- Now all eyes will shift back to the status of Durant and Thompson. Toronto controlled Game 3 and did so at times looking completely out of sync. Curry is an otherworldly talent, but much like LeBron James and that same 2015 Finals Cavs squad, he can’t do everything himself (although two All-Stars should theoretically help). Thompson will almost assuredly be ready for Game 4 and Durant has widely been expected to return by either Game 4 or 5. Toronto needed the win more than Golden State, but they really just needed to buy themselves some breathing room. Now, even if both Thompson and Durant return in Game 4, they go into it with a 2-1 series lead. Buckle up.
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||109-123 L vs. TOR||4||1-7 (0-1)||3||2||1||0||3||-12||19|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||123-109 W @ GSW||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
Friday, June 5: 9:00 P.M. EST – ABC (Oracle Arena)