Klay Thompson was back and was excellent, but that didn’t help his Warriors against the determined Toronto Raptors. The guests from Canada came one step closer to their first NBA title, after posting a win in Game 4 of the finals.
Nick Nurse’s team rallied back after being down 11 points in the first quarter, and had a furious push in the third. Eventually, the Raptors won with 105-92.
They will now have a chance to seal the trophy in front of their fans and to write history. The euphoria in Toronto after the game overwhelmed the city, but the players are trying to keep it under control, saying that they still have to win one more game.
“We’ve won three games, it’s the first to four,” Kyle Lowry said. “We understand that they’re the defending champs and they’re not going to go out easy….We haven’t done anything yet.”
A 3-1 lead is huge, especially when you have a home-court advantage. However, the Raptors are well aware of the things which happened in the past. The Warriors themselves experienced losing that advantage in 2016 against the Cavaliers. Because of all that, they aren’t allowing any celebratory mood in their environment.
Golden State had both of Splash Brother available tonight, and they combined for 55 points. That would be ok if they had some help from other players, but there wasn’t anyone besides them to step up and deliver some hits to the guests.
Everything looked good for the home team in the opening sequence. They were up 11 points, 25-14 with 44 seconds until the end of the opening period. Throughout the second quarter, the Warriors maintained that distance and had a 46-42 lead at the halftime.
But then came the third quarter. For the first eight minutes of the same, the teams were even, until Toronto shifted into a higher gear, and left the Warriors in the dust. Leonard and the boys made a 13-1 run, which brought them to a 77-64 lead with 42 seconds left in the third period.
“You just try to do whatever it takes to change it,” said Draymond Green about the push Raptors made in those moments. “Get a stop, get a bucket, get some momentum. Every time we did, they answered.”
There wasn’t any drama in the final quarter. The Raptors were routinely handling matters on the court, silencing the Oracle Arena up to the point when only visiting fans made some noise.
Kawhi Leonard was on a rampage last night. The Claw dropped 36 points had 12 boards and 4 steals. He also added 5 three-pointers and was once again superb from the free throw line, 9 for 9.
The versatility of Raptors’ attacking potential was proven once again. In all of the games of this series, there was one guy who exploded and helped Leonard and Siakam. Tonight that player was Serge Ibaka. His 20 points were the X-factor on the floor, and what is more important the productivity he delivered was very high, 9 of 12 from the field.
Pascal Siakam scored 19, and Lowry added 10 with 7 dimes.
Meanwhile, Thompson led the Warriors with 28 points, shooting threes 6 for 10. Steph Curry had 27 buckets, but with not so shinny percentages, 2 for 9 from three and 9 for 22 from the field. Draymond Green and Kevon Looney added 10 points each.
The Warriors are not giving up on the title. The players know that all the odds are against them, but aren’t willing to surrender.
Steph Curry mentioned that his team experienced this situation in the past.
“It’s not over. It’s not a good feeling right now, obviously,” Curry said. “We’ve been on both sides of it and for us it’s an opportunity to flip this whole series on its head.”
Then again, it is hard to believe that the Raptors might lose three games in a row, two of them at home. It is possible, but not very likely. Especially when you have Kawhi, and the other side doesn’t have Durant.
KD’s status is still unclear, and it appears that he isn’t going to play until the end of this series.
Game 5 is this Monday night in Toronto.