This isn't a normal recap for a number of reasons outside of what actually happened on the court. So we're doing this collaboratively due to a combination of awe and other commitments: below you will find Bram Kincheloe's summary of the first half and Derek Knight's intro and summary of the second half/overall impressions.
The basic lowdown: the Toronto Raptors are a group of 15 men who are good at playing the sport of basketball. The Golden State Warriors are another group of 15 men who also are pretty good at playing basketball. Some of the Warriors' players (Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Draymond Green to an extent, Festus Ezeli) did not play as well as they can on an individual level.
The team itself wasn't malfunctioning, really. They outshot the Raptors (~48% to 44%), out-rebounded them, and played them to a virtual tie in team assists. They got to the line 10 more times (36 to 26), took 10 more 3PA (30 to10) while converting twice as many of them.
Why was this a close game? Well, taking 18 less shots than the Raptors certainly contributed. The Warriors weren't even egregiously apathetic with ball-handling and passing; the Raptors stole 9 of the 12 turnovers, sure, but 12 turnovers isn't bad in a game in which 221 points were scored. The Raptors took care of the ball, though, with a big exception being in the closing moments of the game (Corey Joseph turning the ball over in the backcourt with mere seconds on the game clock).
Secondarily, no one on the Warriors' bench had a positive +/-, while the Raptors' bench largely played the Warriors to a draw. This was partly because of injury issues, as the Warriors missed 40% of their starting lineup (Andrew Bogut, Lower Back Spasms; Harrison Barnes, Not Lucky Enough). It was also partly due to aforementioned subpar play (albeit relative to their normally sterling standards) from Livingston and Iguodala, and the continued rock slide back to reality for reserve center Marreese Speights.
First half notes
The Raptors, down big in the first half, stormed back and tied the game during the second quarter. However, they had to expend a huge amount of energy to do so, and when Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green checked back into the game, the Warriors quickly went up big again, closing out the half up ten points.
But it wasn't all easy. Curry inadvertently took a huge shot to his face when he ran into DeMarre Carroll, who is apparently built out of stone. Luckily, the injury doesn't seem to be so serious. Steph went to the bench, squinting and rubbing his cheek, his eye red and tear-filled. But, after a few tense moments with the training staff attending to him, he actually checked back in to close out the half.
Here's the shot that Curry took to the face. Here's hoping there aren't any lingering issues.
Steph Curry hit in the face: pic.twitter.com/sFLo7yu4CV— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) December 5, 2015
Here are some funny Twitter moments from the first half:
if the warriors win 70+, give them the trophy at the end of the season, take them out of the playoffs, and everyone else plays for 2nd— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) December 5, 2015
Bogut on Steph: "He’ll find a sense that he can break the game, just destroy the other team’s soul. And that’s what he goes for."— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) December 5, 2015
it's hard to take notes on these games for my essays because it's so easy to just get caught up in the wonder— a shrill of hope (@theshrillest) December 5, 2015
Second half notes
Here are some leftover thoughts on the Warriors' traipse abroad:
- The yearning to dethrone the Warriors was palpable, from the third-largest crowd in Air Canada Center history's signs regarding the streak, to Kyle Lowry going for a career high in points, to the Raptors announcers (top three in the league, by the way) asking "Is this the night?!"
Okay, Okay, Lowry Has Convinced Me. https://t.co/E2pXBGSsLe— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) December 6, 2015
- Kyle Lowry is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference and the best player under whatever height Steph Curry really is. The guy is 6'0 when he wakes up in the morning, but he has the supreme talent of leaving everything on the floor.
- Marreese Speights forgot how to play basketball in the two days since the Warriors last played. Not that he was necessarily good at playing beforehand, but his help defense in the paint had regressed from clueless to willfully, ardently non-existent.
- I'm still not quite sure if Cory Joseph is good at defending Stephen Curry or if he just gets away with more than any other player. Joseph actually got called for a hold on Curry out of a Floppy set. Joseph calmly walked over to the official and politely informed him he's allowed to do that.
- Draymond Green's all-around shooting regression marched its steady pace tonight. Not unexpected. not that concerning.
- Curry is probably the clutchest player alive, probably because he's also just the best all around scorer by a Kevin Durant-sized margin.
- Harrison Barnes makes the SBDS motor hum. Without his rebounding and "size", it takes even more of a group effort to secure boards. Having guys like Andre back to rebound limits opportunities in the transition, which negates a lot of the advantage surrounding the offensive mismatch.
- I'm looking forward to Spurs - Raptors next week.
- What came first, the foul call or Klay Thompson putting his hands on his head?
- Green got beat a bunch on defense, too, including on a pivotal And-1 drive by Lowry with under a minute left which would have let the Raptors tie the game. He appeared to try and cut off Lowry's path, and I'm not sure why he'd think he had the lateral quickness to do so.
- The Raptors' jerseys and primary logo are super slick, especially given the corniness of the source material.
- Andrew Bogut's presence was missed sorely on the defensive end, especially given the layup line of a defense the Warriors ran out in the early Fourth.
- Klay Thompson is the worst good free throw shooter I've ever witnessed in my life. Something about him at the line gives me zero confidence in him, despite the fact that there's always at least 64% chance he walks away with two points.
- Draymond fouled Luis Scola with 6.2 seconds left and the Warriors up three, which was good. I'm not sure why Walton took a timeout immediately after Scola hit his free throws, though. Why not try and sneak it into Curry, then call a timeout to avoid a five count?
- Would Vine have broken if Steph took his clinching free throws with his eyes closed, a la Michael Jordan?