Toronto Raptors record memorable win over Golden State Warriors
Toronto Raptors extended their red-hot form by beating the Golden State Warriors 131-128 in overtime on Thursday night.
Warriors’ Kevin Durant scored 51 in vain for the NBA champions, who succumbed to the Raptors’ seventh consecutive win.
Kawhi Leonard poured in 37 points. His best as a Raptor. This lead the Raptors to their seventh straight victory.
Pascal Siakam, didn’t miss a shot until the final minute of the third quarter, but managed to add a career-high 28 points for the league-leading Raptors (19-4). Serge Ibaka chipped in with 20. Danny Green had 13. Jonas Valanciunas added 12. While Lowry finished with 10 points and 12 assists.
The Raptors had lost eight straight to Golden State, but that was pre-Leonard. But now Toronto are the talk of the East. The game was nationally televised in the U.S., rare for the Raptors.
“It was great. It felt like a playoff game, to be honest,” Siakam said. “Those are the type of games we want, just to get familiar with it. I think the fans did a great job, just to be engaged in the game and making it fun, too.”
The Raptors started strongly and raced out to an early 18-point lead. For the most part they maintained a double-digit advantage until Durant lit it up late in the third quarter. The nine-time NBA all-star scored the Warriors’ final 13 points of the quarter. Including a three-pointer from the mid-court logo at the buzzer that sliced Toronto’s lead to 96-88, and set up an edge-of-your-seats final frame.
Thompson capped a 9-0 Warriors run that pulled the visitors to within two points with eight minutes to play. But the Raptors clawed their way back and when Green drilled a three-pointer with 4:42 left, it capped an 8-0 run that put Toronto back up by 10, prompting a deafening roar from the Scotiabank Arena crowd that included Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, Drake, and UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.
“We were able to make shots, we were able to get some stops in overtime,” Leonard said. “It’s a building block for us, and I’m happy we got the win.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr added: “What a game. An incredible basketball game for the fans to watch. We came up just short.”
The Warriors were again without Steph Curry, their star player, who was nursing a groin injury. He is expected to return on Saturday after missing 11 games while Draymond Green continues to sit out.
“Obviously we’ve been looking forward to getting him back but I’m proud of the way the guys have fought without him,” Kerr said. “Hopefully Draymond won’t be too far behind him.”
Their absence was not felt too heavily because of the brilliance of Durant. For the first time he scored 40 or more in a third consecutive game.
Trailing 119-113 with 8.6 seconds on the clock, it was Durant who scored back-to-back threes to force overtime.
“Tonight we were down early, we were down big. I just tried to be aggressive and go get a bucket,” Durant said.
Lowry nailed a 3-pointer with 55 seconds to go in the fourth quarter put the Raptors up 119-113. However, Durant replied with back-to-back 3s of his own, including a game-tying shot with 8.6 seconds left.
Leonard drove and kicked to Ibaka on the final possession, but the Raptors big man couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer. Sending the game to overtime.
The crowd of 20,073 was on its feet for the extra period, erupting when Green knocked down a three with 2:07 to play to put Toronto up by three. With 22 seconds left, and the Raptors clutching a three-point lead, Andre Iguodala had a clear path to the basket but was whistled for travelling. Siakam iced the victory with three free throws in the dying seconds.
“I was proud of them,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. “When a team gets dug into overtime like that on some tough shots, it’s a lot of times that team will feel sorry for themselves and not come out and play. We didn’t. We came out and scored the first four on them and that’s what I told them in the locker-room.
“I was proud of them for that, to kind of take the emotional punch in the gut, take a few deep breaths and then go back out there and play the overtime like they did.”