Even playing at home in front of their crowd, the Golden State Warriors were going to be in for a tough task against the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto took advantage early, holding a 12-point lead at one point in the opening stanza. Stephen Curry kept Golden State close early, going for 17 points, six rebounds and three assists in the first quarter alone.
From there, Toronto answered pretty much every Warriors run to win this one going away, 123-109. It now has a 2-1 series lead with an opportunity to take a stranglehold against the defending champs Friday evening.
Here are the biggest winners from the Raptors’ 14-point win over Golden State in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Winner: Kawhi Leonard
After starting the game slowly on 3-of-9 shooting in the first half, Leonard picked it up when it counted the most in the second half. He was Toronto’s go-to-guy down the stretch as the Warriors attempted a comeback.
When all was said and done, Leonard dropped 30 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists in a stellar all-around performance. He continues what has been a dominating postseason run for the potential NBA Finals MVP.
Loser: Draymond Green
Green needed to step up from a scoring perspective with both Thompson and Durant sidelined. At very least, Golden State needed a huge all-around game from the All-Star. That did not happen. Green dished out just one assist and committed three turnovers in the first half. For a dude that was averaging a triple-double in the Finals, that’s not going to cut it.
Green got more aggressive in the second half. But by the time that happened, Toronto had opened up a huge lead. No matter who plays for Golden State in Game 4, he’s got to be smarter and better when on the court. It’s that simple.
Winner: Kyle Lowry
Despite more foul trouble Wednesday evening, Lowry’s offensive game picked up big time. Shooting just 30% in the first two games, the All-Star hit five three-pointers and gave Toronto what it needed from a secondary scorer.
Much like the rest of his Raptors squad, Lowry was out there hitting big shot after big shot. It was an amazing performance from a player that had in the past been defined by his playoff struggles.
Loser: Warriors Bench
It goes without saying that Golden State needed secondary members of the roster to step up with Thompson and Durant sidelined in this one. That did not happen. Already down three players, deep bench options that normally wouldn’t see time in the Finals were called on. They did not deliver.
Jonas Jerebko and Alfonzo McKinnie were the two main culprits here. They combined for 2-of-10 shooting from the field. In a game that the Warriors needed more perimeter shooting, they failed to deliver.
Winner: Stephen Curry
What can we say about this dude that hasn’t already been said? Curry kept Golden State afloat early on. He dropped 17 points and grabbed six rebounds in the first quarter alone. From there, it was all about Curry dominating with Durant and Thompson sidelined.
Curry did everything possible to keep his Warriors close. The two-time MVP ended up dropping 47 points while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists. It was a performance that reminded us a lot of LeBron James during his 2015 NBA Finals appearance against these very same Warriors. In fact, Curry’s 47 points were the eighth-most in NBA Finals history.
Janky? That’s apparently now a term. And we can easily come to the conclusion that the officials on hand calling the game at Oracle were completely lost Wednesday evening.
Charges that weren’t charges. Missed goaltending calls. Ridiculous offensive foul calls. Name it, and this game was full of disastrous officiating. It went both ways. It was inconsistent. It might not have decided the outcome of an otherwise lopsided game, but the NBA should be ashamed. It can’t happen with closer games likely set to take place as the series progresses.
Winner: Danny Green
Despite picking up three first-half fouls, Green was able to keep his head in the game and hit shot after shot. He ultimately nailed 6-of-10 from distance, pretty much each shot ending a Warriors run.
Green was equally as good on defense. With Golden State looking to go on a run in the final stanza, he hustled back on defense and blocked a Quinn Cook lay-up attempt. It’s this type of veteran savvy that defined Green’s days with the Spurs. It came out in full force Wednesday in Oakland.
Loser: DeMarcus Cousins
After a solid Game 2 performance, Cousins looked absolutely lost Wednesday night. He struggled big time on switches defensively and missed multiple open shots within the restricted area.
When all was said and done, Cousins went for four points on 1-of-7 shooting while seeing the Warriors outscored by 12 points with him on the court. It was rather obvious that Andrew Bogut completely outplayed Cousins here. What that means for Game 4 remains to be seen.