BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
The Toronto Raptors came out hot, shooting 54% in the first quarter, and stayed that way, outscoring the Warriors in every quarter on the way to a 123-109 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. The victory puts Toronto up 2-1 in the best of seven series and helped the Raptors regain the home court advantage over Golden State.
The shorthanded Warriors, playing without the injured Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Kevon Looney, trailed nearly wire-to-wire, never leading by more than a point, and were unable to ever seriously threaten Toronto in spite of a scrappy performance led by Steph Curry’s (14-31) playoff career high 47 points. Curry also had eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Raptors balance and depth was the difference, with six players scoring in double figures led by Kawhi Leonard’s (9-17) 30 points. Of the seven Toronto players that took a shot, none finished worse than 50% from the field as the Raptors shot 52.4% on the night compared to the Warriors 39.6%.
Kyle Lowry’s 23 points and nine assists combined with Danny Green’s 18 on 6-10 shooting from beyond the three point line helped Toronto’s offensive balance prove decisive. Pascal Siakim also added 18 while Marc Gasol contributed 17 points and seven rebounds. Serge Ibaka had a game high six blocks for the Raptors.
Draymond Green added 17 points and seven boards for Golden State, but Andre Iguodala was the only other Warrior in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Quinn Cook scored nine off the bench while Andrew Bogut contributed six points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes of action.
Asked about the Warriors spate of injuries following the game, Curry responded “Any injury in the playoffs is tough, but especially a guy like Klay who’s been so durable his whole career and especially in the playoffs. The way he had been playing as of late, so it’s no secret that we’re a little injury plagued now with guys trying to just find a way back to the court. But the moment is now. You got to try to have “next man up” mentality, like we always say, and just go out and fight. I liked the competitiveness that we had, understanding that we’re missing 50 points pretty much between KD and Klay. So we’ll adjust. And it’s a long series you know. It’s going to be fun for us.”
Golden State coach Steve Kerr, questioned about his teams effort, was full of praise in spite of the loss. “Very proud. They played really, really hard and gave it everything they had and just ran into a better team tonight. Toronto played an excellent game, made big shots every time they needed to. We never could get over the hump. Every time we fought back and kind of got it to six, seven or eight, whatever it was, they made big shots. They outplayed us. They deserved it. I’m very proud of our effort, and now we just got to bounce back and get back here here Friday night and hopefully get a little healthier and get some guys back.”
Game 4 of the series is set for Friday night at Oracle with a 6pm tip-off.
Steph Curry’s 47 points is the second highest total ever scored in a losing effort in the NBA Finals. LeBron James scored 51 in a loss to the Warriors in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals.
The Warriors used their 10th different starting lineup of the 2019 playoffs, the most in a single postseason since starters and reserves began being tracked in the 1970-71 season.
With their Game 2 win in Toronto, Golden State extended their All-Time NBA Record to 23 straight post-season series with a road victory.
The Warriors 20-0 run at the end of the second quarter and start of the third was the largest streak of consecutive points by a team in Finals history since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976.