Toronto Raptors beaten by the Golden State Warriors
The Toronto Raptors unravelled in the time that it took plenty of stunned fans to get back into their seats with their halftime beers.
Eight straight missed shots and five turnovers and just six minutes into the third quarter, the Raptors’ double-digit lead had morphed into a 13-point hole. This proved to be too deep to dig out of.
Meanwhile, Klay Thompson recorded 25 points, while Stephen Curry scores 23 as the visiting Golden State Warriors beat the Raptors 109-104 with a superb third quarter on Sunday. The result sends the best-of-seven NBA Finals to Oakland with the teams level after two games played.
“I feel like our pace was good early, it was just that third quarter, I feel like it just really killed us — 18-0 run, if we can’t score no baskets, you’re not going to win no game,” Raptors star Kawhi Leonard said.
Nick Nurse lamented the lack of offence during the ugly game-turning stretch.
“I’m going to have to rewatch that,” he said. “I’m probably not going to enjoy it very much.”
Meanwhile, Leonard recorded 34 points. Meaning he is shooting an NBA Finals record 17-for-17 from the free-throw line. Furthermore, he hauled down 14 rebounds to lead the Raptors. Therefore, it was his 12th 30-point game of these playoffs. Also, Fred VanVleet added 17 points, while Kyle Lowry scored 13 points before picking up his sixth foul and leaving the game with just under four minutes remaining.
Nurse had previously addressed the proliferation of post-season fouls in his press conference. He said: “It’s strange because it doesn’t seem like you’re ever in foul trouble in the regular season.”
Meanwhile, the referees were an unfortunate side-plot of Game Two as Lowry found himself in foul trouble early and played just 27 minutes. The quick whistles outraged Toronto fans. The referee Tony Brothers began trending on Twitter.
“Some of the things I don’t necessarily agree with, but they’re called,” Lowry said.
Also, Pascal Siakam chipped in with 12 as the Raptors continued with their first NBA Finals appearance in their history.
Toronto led by as many as 12 points during the first half. However, the Warriors are known for their superb third quarters, and that proved to be the case again.
VanVleet finally ended the Golden State run. At that point it was standing at 20-0 going back to the second quarter. Vanvleet ended the run with a three-pointer with 6:20 remaining of the third.
“Missing every shot doesn’t help. Ten possessions in a row we didn’t score, I’m not even sure,” VanVleet said.
Furthermore, the Warriors led 88-80 with one quarter remaining. Meanwhile, Danny Green’s three-pointer cut Golden State’s lead to four points with nine minutes to play. However, the Warriors’ offence was on fire and had 34 assists on 38 made baskets on the night. Their defence was locked in. And almost nothing was happening for the Raptors.
“We started to look like ourselves, and so at that point, it just felt better. We ended up with 34 assists which is more like our team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It was a great win. We get to go home and protect our home floor.”
Andrew Bogut scored, and put Golden State up by 12 with 5:40 remaining. Toronto then chipped away, and three free throws from Leonard pulled the Raptors to within five points with just over one minute to play.
Then Green drilled a three with 26 seconds remaining, making it a two-point game and prompting a hopeful roar from the Scotiabank Arena crowd. However, a wide-open Andre Iguodala replied with a three with six seconds left to put Golden State back up by two possessions.
The Raptors had won Thursday’s series opener 118-109, as they rode the momentum from four straight victories over the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference final.
The star-studded crowd on Sunday featured former U.S. president Barack Obama. Along with former Toronto Blue Jays star Roberto Alomar, golfers Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, and numerous recording artists including J. Cole, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, and, of course, Drake.
Games Three and Four are Wednesday and Friday in Oakland. Meanwhile, Game Five is Monday June 10th in Toronto.
“We’re in the same boat they were in coming here, we gotta go out there and get one,” Nurse said. “That’s all we gotta do — get one. We can do that.”