Raptors crush weakened Warriors for 2-1 NBA Finals lead
OAKLAND, USA – Toronto had a shot at pouncing on a shorthanded defending champion, so Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors made sure to grab the chance.
The Raptors ripped a Golden State Warriors side that struggled minus injured stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, 123-109, to claim a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Wednesday, June 5 (Thursday, June 6, Philippine time).
Leonard dropped 30 points on top of 7 rebounds and 6 assists and Kyle Lowry delivered his best game yet in the series to finish with 23 points, 15 coming from three-point range, and dished out 9 assists.
"Each game's critical and the next one will be as critical as tonight's was," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "I give our guys a lot of credit."
The Raptors had complete control of the game from the get-go even even as Steph Curry did all that he could for the Warriors and erupted for a career playoff-best 47 points.
"Steph was unbelievable," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "He does things I don't think anybody has done before. He's amazing."
Danny Green also helped the Raptors pile up to lead, firing all of his 18 points from beyond the arc, including back-to-back treys that put Toronto up by 16 points, 91-75, in the 3rd quarter.
"Danny's buckets I think boosted our whole team's confidence because we're used to most of the year relying on those," Nurse said.
DANNY— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 6, 2019
Pascal Siakam finished just a rebound-shy of a double-double with 18 points, 9 boards and 6 assists for the Raptors, while Marc Gasol (17 points) and Fred VanVleet (11 points) also tallied double figures.
Draymond Green added 17 points and Andre Iguodala had 11 points for the Warriors.
Just before tipoff, the Warriors announced that Thompson won’t suit up due to a strained left hamstring.
The 29-year-old guard, though, was put onto the active roster and warmed up with his teammates before being benched.
"The whole point was to not risk a bigger injury," Kerr said. "We live with that decision. He's got another couple days to heal. Hopefully he'll be out there Friday."
Thompson, a five-time NBA All-Star, had never missed a playoff game in his career, a streak of 120 in a row that ended with him being benched.
The only player with a longer active streak of playoff appearances for his team is Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James at 239.
Durant, the 2017 and 2018 Finals MVP, had been Golden State's top playoff scorer with 34.2 points a game before sustaining a right calf injury that has sidelined him for nearly a month. – With a report from Agence France-Presse