What more could a fan of the game ask for? This one had all of the drama that one would expect out of their favorite soap opera. Down 3-1 with their backs against the wall, it’s reported that Warriors superstar, Kevin Durant would be suiting up and playing in this elimination game. Durant goes out there looking like his old self early in the game, and everybody knows Toronto doesn’t stand a chance. KD gets hurt. The Warriors look shell-shocked, meanwhile, the Raptors are smelling blood in the water. The Raptors come back to take the lead late in the 4th quarter. Everyone (myself included) thinks that the Raptors late come back has taken all of the fight out of the tired and defeated looking defending champs. Led by Curry, Thompson, and Green, the Warriors show the world what “the heart of a champion” looks like. It would be hard to script a dramatic television series better than the sh*t that took place up there in Canada last night. Outside of Durant’s injury, and some Raptors fans despicable reaction to his injury, last night’s NBA Finals elimination game was one for the record books. There was so much drama and ups and downs for both teams in this game. I honestly thought KD’s injury would be enough to make the Warriors want to pack it up and get ready for summer vacation. It may turn out that KD’s injury will be the thing that woke the sleeping giants. We’ll see what happens in game-6 back in Oakland. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights from last night’s thriller:
Video Courtesy: Ximo Pierto/Youtube
I was really trying to hold off on saying this, but I guess right about now is the time for me to finally blurt out my thoughts: This Toronto Raptors team reminds me of the 2017-2018 Philadelphia Eagles team that won Super Bowl 52. Before you call me crazy, check this out… Remember how, after the Eagles had the great regular season and finished with a 13-3 record, everyone said it doesn’t matter because they’ll get to the playoffs and do what they always do? Every playoff game, everyone was just waiting for the moment that the Eagles would find a way to lose. The Eagles have a long history of finding a way to lose playoff games. Surely they were not going to the Super Bowl. Nobody could see it. People thought that same thing about this Raptors team after their multiple seasons of losses in the playoffs and Conference Finals and never reaching the NBA Finals. When the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl, everyone said there’s no way in hell the Eagles are going to beat the almighty New England Patriots with Tom Brady leading the way. And we all know how that turned out. The same thing was said about this Raptors team. Even without KD on the court, the consensus was that this was going to be a pretty easy road to travel for the Steph Curry led Warriors franchise to collect their 7th NBA Championship. The team’s 4th in the last 5 years. If you say that you predicted the Warriors would be down 3-1 heading into game-5, you are likely a Raptors fan…..or a straight up liar!
The Raptors were once again led by Kawhi Leonard (36 points, 12 rebs), Kyle Lowry (10 points, 7 ast), and Paskal Siakam (19 pts). They also got a big lift off the bench from Serge Ibaka, who put up 20 points in last night’s victory. Also, I just wanted to mention, the Raptors fans traveled very well on this NBA Finals road trip. There were enough Raptors fans in the Warriors house last night to be heard. Even over the very loud Warriors fans in attendance. I don’t know if that was a major factor in last night’s final score, but to be a visiting player, it had to feel pretty damn good to hear that many people cheering for you on the road. The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson, who was back after missing game-3 with an injury (28 points), Steph Curry (27 points), and Draymond Green (10 pts., 12 asts, and 9 rebs.). The Warriors got 10 points off the bench from Kevon Looney, who was also returning to the Warriors lineup after missing game-3 with an injury. I will say this in defense of the Warriors. This Golden State team is banged up from top to bottom. They have injuries all over the place, and their best player hasn’t been on the floor this whole series. Demarcus Cousins looks like he shouldn’t even be out there, as he’s becoming more of a hinderance than a helping factor. I don’t believe Cousins has fully recovered from his injury yet. I admire his courage in wanting to get out there to try to help his team, but truth is, he’s been hurting them more than he’s been helping them. Even though things are looking bleak for the Warriors, I still feel like they will somehow turn things around. I’m not saying they will win the series, but I’d be shocked to see them lose it 4-1. Just my opinion. Anyway, here are some highlights from last night’s game:
Video Courtesy Ximo Pietro/YouTube
No Klay. No KD. No Kevon Looney. This was a game Toronto was supposed to win…..and they did. The visiting team had 6 players in double figures as they stole game-3 in Oakland last night. Kyle Lowry had 23 points, but if you watched the game, it looked like he did a lot more damage than that out there. On the other side, the Warriors looked exactly what you thought they’d look like without KD and Klay Thompson. Steph Curry dropped 47 points and Draymond Green had 17, but the Warriors didn’t get much else from anyone else. The Raptors took a 2-1 lead in the series after the win last night, but this still doesn’t feel like a panic type of situation yet. I believe Klay Thompson probably could’ve played tonight, but Coach Steve Kerr wanted to give him a couple more days of rest. Game-4 is Friday in Oakland at 9pm est. I suspect you’ll see a different Warriors team when they take the court Friday night. Don’t know if KD will be back, but I’m about 99% sure Klay Thompson will. By the way, Demarcus Cousins played a terrible game last night. Coming off a great performance in game-2, he looked tired early in the game and never got into a rhythm at all out there. I expect him to play better in game-4 also. Overall, I don’t put too much stock into this game. Raptors are up 2-1, but I expect things to be different with Klay in the lineup. My prediction still holds……Warriors in 7 if KD doesn’t come back. Check out highlights from the game below:
Video Courtesy: Ximo Pierto/YouTube
This series is turning out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. I predicted this series would go 7-games if Durant did not play, but I didn’t expect any of those games to really be close. I thought if the Raptors won a game it would likely be one of those poor shooting games for the Warriors which would lead to a blowout. And I thought that if the Warriors came anywhere close to playing their type of game, that would lead to a Warriors blowout. Last night proved that I was wrong. I think the Warriors played their kind of game last night. They got double digit scoring out of 4 of their starting 5. Igoulda had 8 points, 6 assist, and 8 rebounds. (He also hit the game clinching shot with the shot clock running down). The Warriors also got pretty good production out of their bench, led by 9 points off of three big time three point shots from point guard Quinn Cook. The Warriors got some really good minutes out of Demarcus Cousins who was inserted into the starting lineup for last night’s game (28 min., 10 reb., 6 ast., 11 points). If I wouldn’t have watched the game, and had just checked the stats, I would’ve assumed that these stats would lead to the Warriors blowing out any opponent. But this game was close. The Warriors had a few double digit leads, but the Raptors fought back to get back into the game every time. The scrappy Raptors team was led by Kawhi Leonard who dropped 34 points and added 14 rebounds. Fred Van Fleet came up big off the bench once again with 17 points. The Warriors held off the late run by Toronto to take the win 109-104. Game-3 is on Wednesday. The Warriors are home for the next 2 games. Durant is expected to be back for game-3. If that happens, I don’t think the Raptors have a real shot at winning another game. Here’s some highlights from game-2 in Toronto.
Video courtesy: Ximo Pierto/Youtube