Warriors ride big 3rd quarter to even NBA Finals series with Raptors
Golden State opened 3rd quarter on 18-0 run, winning Game 2 against Toronto 109-104
Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Raptors, his 12th 30-point game of these playoffs, while Fred VanVleet had 17. Kyle Lowry had 13 points before picking up his sixth foul and leaving the game with 3:52 to play. Pascal Siakam chipped in with 12 points as Toronto continued its first NBA Finals appearance in its 24-year history.
The Raptors led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but were done in by an awful third quarter that saw the Warriors race out to an 18-0 run while fans were still filing back to their seats with their halftime beers. The Raptors turned the ball over five times and missed their first nine shots in the ugly stretch. VanVleet finally ended Golden State's run with a three-pointer with 6:20 remaining in the quarter.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse lamented the lack of the offence during the game-turning stretch, as it gave Warriors transition opportunities.
"I'm going to have to rewatch that," he said. "I'm probably not going to enjoy it very much."
WATCH | Warriors use strong 3rd quarter to top Raptors:
The Warriors led 88-80 with one quarter to play. Danny Green's three-pointer slashed Golden State's lead to just four points with nine minutes to play, but the Warriors' offence, which had 34 assists on 38 made baskets on the night, was sizzling. Almost nothing was falling for Toronto.
Green drilled a three with 26 seconds to play, making it a two-point game and prompting a roar from the Scotiabank Arena crowd. But a wide open Andre Iguodala replied with a three with 5.9 seconds left to put the Warriors back up by two possessions.
Nurse said the Raptors should have fouled before Iguodala's shot.
"[Iguodala] has hit a lot of big shots in the Finals before, so he was unfazed," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
When asked if the Raptors wanted to see the ball in Iguodala's hands for that shot, Leonard said, "No, we wanted to see it in our hands. We wanted to get a steal."
Green's three at the buzzer bounced off the rim, ending the game.
The referees were an unfortunate storyline of the game, as Lowry, Siakam and Marc Gasol were all in early foul trouble.
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Baskets were at a premium in the game's early minutes, the two teams shooting a combined 5-for-19 before the first timeout. The Raptors took a six-point lead on an alley-oop dunk from VanVleet to Siakam, but the Warriors promptly went on a 10-0 run to go up by four. Toronto led 27-26 to start the second.
Leonard converted a three-point play to stretch the Raptors' lead to 12 points with just over five minutes to play in the first half. A couple of Curry free throws with four seconds left sliced the Raptors' advantage to 59-54 at halftime.
"We cut the lead to five and could kind of breathe at halftime," Kerr said. "I think our guys felt renewed life at that point."
The Raptors won Thursday's series opener 118-109, riding the momentum of four straight victories over Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference final.
Games 3 and 4 are Wednesday and Friday in Oakland. Game 5 is Monday, June 10 in Toronto.
"We're in the same boat they were in coming here, we gotta go out there and get one," Nurse said. "That's all we gotta do — get one. We can do that."