On “Drake Night” in Toronto, the Golden State Warriors put on a 127-point performance and strutted disdainfully in front of Drake, who was sitting courtside, on Wednesday.
In the third quarter, just a few feet away from Drake, Stephen Curry splashed a three in the eye of his defender from an impossible angle before glancing at the renowned artist and doing the happy feet dance. However, it was the Toronto Raptors who had reason to celebrate early in the game.
Warriors first half run stifles Raptors
The Raptors went right at Zaza Pachulia, who offered little to no resistance in protecting the rim, en-route to 38 points in the first quarter. None of Golden State's bigs were able to contain the lumbering Jonas Valanciunas, who had 12 points and 8 boards in 18 minutes. Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were torching the Warriors from all over the court. The defense went from bad to worse for Golden State when Draymond Green headed for the locker room after landing on Terrence Ross' foot.
Luckily, Green got his ankle taped up and returned to the game in the second quarter, where the defensive intensity really picked up. Behind Green's pesty defense, Golden State held the Raptors to just 15 points on 5-for-24 shooting in the quarter. Green's activity on defense flustered Toronto's stars, Lowry and DeRozan, to the point that they were both hit with a technical after Green stripped the ball out of Lowry's hands and saved it off of DeRozan as he was falling out of bounds.
Golden State closed the first half on a 21-4 run. Although they came close to making a valiant comeback, Toronto never recovered from Golden State's exceptional second quarter. Golden State's brilliance to end the half also displayed how lethal their defense can be when they put forth the effort.
Warriors offense rounding into shape
Although the second half saw the Warriors playing lackadaisical defense once again, it was the offense that allowed them to sustain the lead. Before this season, the Warriors never had anyone other than Curry to fill the void offensively when Klay Thompson wasn't hitting shots. As it turns out, adding Kevin Durant can mitigate the effects of a struggling Thompson.
Curry and Durant combined for 65 points on 52.5% shooting last night. The duo hasn't needed to sacrifice much in terms of points, but more impressive is their efficiency. Not only has Durant benefited by getting more open looks than he's ever received in Oklahoma City, but opposing teams can no longer put their best wing defender on Curry. Consequently, they both currently have a career-high True Shooting percentage.
It seems Klay has received the short end of the stick, however, finishing this game with 8 missed threes and 15 points on the same amount of shots. Green helped pick up the slack by doing a little bit of everything: 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks.
Aside from Klay's shooting slump, the Golden State offense is beginning to hum. Wednesday night marked the fifth consecutive game in which the Warriors recorded at least 30 assists and shot 50% from the field, becoming the first team to do so in 30 years. More importantly, though, the Warriors got the victory and bragging rights against Drake's Raptors.