After winning a tough game in a hostile Oakland environment, Toronto has taken a 2-1 series lead.
Kawhi Leonard had an impressive game with 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists. The California native has been in “attack mode” all series, with the bulk of his shots coming from within 20 feet. Pascal Siakam in particular has been taking more and more responsibilities on offense. Whether it was a step back from 17 feet, or out-maneuvering the defense on a drive, the Cameroonian has evolved into an offensive weapon. He ended up with 18 points.
Veteran Kyle Lowry had a solid first half scoring 15 points, including three of five from downtown. He finished the game with 23 points. Offensively, game three was one of the best games Toronto has played all season. On Wednesday night the starters carried the scoring load, scoring 106 of their team’s 123 points.
The Raptors also out-rebounded the Warriors 40 to 25. Toronto shot better from the three-point line as they shot nearly 45 percent, while the Warriors shot an underwhelming 33 percent. Fred VanVleet came off the bench and chipped in with 11 points. The highlight of his night was hitting a three-pointer to beat the shot clock in the fourth quarter, extending the Raptors’ lead to 13 with less than two minutes to go.
The Raptors’ roster depth has given them the edge throughout the series, despite Leonard and Lowry playing banged up. Leonard had a bum knee, and Lowry was nursing a bad left thumb.
For the home team, Steph Curry set the nets on fire with 47 points. He was the only Warrior to score more than 20. The next leading scorer on the team was Draymond Green with 17. Curry was given the green light, as his backcourt partner Klay Thompson was out with a strained hamstring. This is the first time in Thompson’s career that he’s missed a playoff game.
The Dubs for much of the playoffs have been missing several key guys due to injuries. Kevin Durant has yet to play in this year’s finals, as he’s been out with a right calf since early May. Recent reports had him missing game four, and it’s questionable if he’ll ever return. Kevon Looney, a six-foot-nine forward who provides defense and rebounding off the bench, is out for the season with a collar bone fracture. Games four and five will be critical for the Dubs as losing the former would put them down 3-1, with game five going back to Toronto.
Game four is a must-win and Golden State won’t go away quietly. The last time they went down 3-1 in the playoffs, they came back and won the series. Golden State winning this year would give the NBA it’s first triple crown since the LA Lakers in the early 2000’s. For the Raptors, it would be the icing on the cake on a Cinderella run. David is facing Goliath, and Goliath might be in trouble.