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OAKLAND, USA – Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points and the Toronto Raptors moved halfway to their first NBA title by defeating the injury-hit Golden State Warriors, 123-109, in the NBA Finals on Wednesday, June 5 (Thursday, June 6, Philippine time).
Kyle Lowry added 23 points and 9 assists while Danny Green and Pascal Siakam each contributed 18 points as the Raptors seized a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, which continues Friday in Oakland. (READ: Lowry gets shoved by fan, pushes Raptors to Game 3 win)
Stephen Curry scored a playoff career-high 47 points and added 8 rebounds and 7 assists for a defending champion Golden State squad playing without guard Klay Thompson due to a left hamstring strain and forward Kevin Durant with a right calf injury. (READ: Curry unleashes career night in Warriors’ NBA Finals loss)
Green started 6-of-8 from three-point range, sparking a late third-quarter run that gave Toronto momentum for good.
Golden State decided just before tip-off to bench Thompson, a five-time NBA All-Star who averages 19.5 points. The team feared he could injure himself worse and miss more games, hoping a game’s rest – even one that snapped his run of 120 career playoff games without a miss – would ensure his health the rest of the way.
The Warriors can’t afford to lose another player with Durant, averaging 34.2 points, uncertain for Game 4, and forward Kevon Looney out for the remainder of the finals with a chest injury. – With a report from Agence France-Presse