2019 NBA Finals: Raptors overwhelm wounded Warriors

2019 NBA Finals: Game 3 (Raptors lead 2-1)

Toronto Raptors (123) – Golden State Warriors (109)

After they let a golden opportunity to take a commanding lead get away in the fourth quarter of Game 2, the Raptors made sure that they came into Game 3 with an attack mindset. It showed from the opening buzzer as they jumped out ahead early in the game and never let up.

As with everything the Raptors have done this year, it all starts with Kawhi Leonard. Toronto’s undisputed superstar has been the driving force of the team all season long. In Game 2, Leonard did everything he could to deliver another home win. His 34 points were wasted as the Warriors held on to win.

In Game 3, Leonard was calm and as efficient, like he’s been throughout his monster tear in this year’s Playoffs. He delivered a steady dose of offense, hitting crucial baskets when needed to keep the Raptors ahead. Leonard had a “quiet” 30 points on 52% shooting. He also had an all-around game with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.

Leonard was a given. But the Raptors got production across the board. They had five other players in double figures.

One notable player from today’s game was Danny Green. Green has been having a cold spell at the worst time. In this year’s playoffs, Green was scoring only less than eight points per game on sub-35% shooting from the field and beyond the arc.

He broke out on Game 3, setting the tone for the team early in the game. Green dropped three triples in the first period alone. His outside shooting played a big role in giving the Raptors a double-digit lead which the Warriors chased for most of the game. Green played his best game at the right time, dropping 18 points on 6/10 shooting from three-point land.

Another player that’s struggled in the first two games of the Finals was Kyle Lowry. He was averaging only 10 points on 29% shooting from the field. In Game 3, Lowry also came up big.

Lowry played the fireman’s role for the Raptors. In the second and third period, the Warriors went on several runs to cut down the double-digit deficit to just more manageable numbers. Every time the Warriors would threaten, Lowry had an answer. He nailed five triples, nearly all were answers to Golden State’s runs. Lowry finished with a 23 points, nine assists and his usual level of defense.

Pascal Siakam had 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Marc Gasol had 17 points and Fred Van Vleet added 11. The Raptors were just too much.

For the Warriors it was Steph Curry. And only Steph Curry.

Minutes before Game 3 started, Klay Thompson, who was injured late in Game 2 was ruled out. That meant the Warriors needed a superhuman effort from Curry to take down the Raptors.

Curry delivered a Finals performance unlike any before. He dropped 47 points, had eight rebounds, seven assists and six treys in the loss.

It still wasn’t enough. Without Thompson and Kevin Durant, the Warriors were ran out of their own building.

After cruising in the Playoffs for the last two years, the Warriors now know what it feels like to be battered and broken at this point in the season. Game 4 looms with big questions for both teams. If Durant and Thompson return are they healthy enough to counter the rolling Raptors? Can all the Raptors (besides Leonard) keep up this level of play? The Finals plot thickens.

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