The Golden State Warriors are one game from the death of their three-peat dreams as the Toronto Raptors put a CLINIC on them 105-92 in Game 4. Helluva performance by the Eastern Conference champions; the Warriors clearly aren’t better without Kevin Durant.
Kawhi Leonard was in full Terminator mode, racking up 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 steals. Meanwhile Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 28 points, while Steph Curry struggled to 28 points on 22 shots, as no non-Splash Bro stepped up to ease the scoring burden.
The energy in the arena to start the game was completely off of the charts as Oakland’s faithful roared their hearts out. Both teams showcased championship level defense, as windows for shots closed in milliseconds, making each possession especially priceless.
Kawhi Leonard thrived in that heated environment early on, scoring 14 points on a variety of pounding post moves, nifty mid-rangers, and sniperish deep bombs. But the other Raptors combined for only three points total.
Kawhi Leonard: 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Rest of Raptors: 3 points on 1-for-13 shooting.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) June 8, 2019
Warriors defense is much more aggressive to start this game— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) June 8, 2019
The Dubs took a 23-17 lead after the first quarter, led by the returned Kevon Looney’s six points.
The second quarter could be summed up like this: the Raptors couldn’t make a shot, and the Warriors kept throwing the ball away. The Dubs had nine turnovers going into the half, while Toronto shot 34% from the field (2-of-17 from downtown). However, the Raptors did make 10-of-11 free throws to the Warriors’ 2-of-4, keeping the game tight.
Big cojones pic.twitter.com/avtvOkQMYW— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) June 8, 2019
Thompson led the Dubs with 14 points at the half, matching Leonard’s output.
Warriors 46, Raptors 42
Warriors leading at half for the first time since May 14th (Game 1 of WCF).— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) June 8, 2019
The Raptors marched into the third quarter and immediately overwhelmed the Warriors with a 37-21 quarter. Toronto executed crisply on the offensive end, getting their players comfortable looks, none more comfy than Leonard who got kept cooking with a 17-point quarter.
Toronto’s defense basicaly said “anyone but Steph and Klay”, and the Warriors role players couldn’t make them pay for the strategy.
The Dubs trailed 79-67 heading into the fourth quarter.
Fred Van Vleet took an unintentional elbow from Shaun Livingston and was forced to leave the game early in the 4th quarter. There was a tooth knocked free and blood on the court, which led to an extended stoppage.
When play resumed, the Raptors continued to stomp the Warriors down.
The Warriors began double teaming frantically, and Toronto calmly picked it apart. It was like clockwork: the Warriors would trap a Raptor, and he’d find an open man for an easy bucket. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Lowry destroying the Warriors rotations after the Kawhi traps. Couple of quick passes right back to the roll man has surprised the Warriors— Bored Man Gets Paid (@okhanSTR) June 8, 2019
Just a bad looking scheme, on a bad night.
It was surreal watching Warriors fans streaming out before the game was over in disgust. But at the very least, we can officially put to death the “Warriors are better without Kevin Durant” nonsense. Hopefully KD will return for Game 5, but if not, it’s time to abandon that double-teaming defense because THE JIG IS UP.
We’re headed back to Toronto down 3-1: it’s either win or the season is over, folks.