Game 2 of the NBA Finals started an awful lot like Game 1, as the Raptors and Warriors jockeyed early, trading runs for small leads, before Toronto took control and ran out to a double-digit lead.
The Warriors, as they do, closed that gap to a reasonable five points at the half, but it felt like the Raptors were in firm control of the game. Then the third quarter happened, and the Warriors scored the first 18 points of the period, taking a 13-point lead, one they would never fully give back.
Toronto would claw back in the game, cutting the deficit to eight to end the third quarter behind the play of Kawhi Leonard, who led all scorers with 34 points (and a game-high 14 rebounds), becoming the third player in the last decade to have 12 games with 30 points or more in a single postseason, joining Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
The Warriors always seemed to have an answer for every Toronto run, as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 48 points on 7-of-16 shooting from three-point range, while Draymond Green added 17 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.
Thompson had to leave the game with a hamstring injury, but the “others” for the Warriors stepped up as the Raptors bench did in Game 1. Quinn Cook hit a pair of huge threes early in the fourth quarter to stem the tide, while DeMarcus Cousins had a significant impact on the glass with 10 boards, which the Warriors desperately needed, to go along with 11 points.
Even Andrew Bogut gave them some positive minutes in Kevon Looney’s absence, who was knocked out of the game with a chest contusion.
Still, the Warriors offense went cold late, and the Raptors had their chances. Neither team was particularly efficient in the fourth quarter, combining for just 45 points, but Toronto hit some key shots late to give themselves a chance.
The Raptors were able to cut the Golden State lead to two with just under 30 seconds to play as they corralled two offensive rebounds to bring their total to 15 on the night and finally found Danny Green open for a three to make it 106-104. However, they chose not to foul, and after a near turnover from Curry, Andre Iguodala of all people stepped up to hit a dagger three to seal a 109-104 win for the Warriors. It was one of two threes on the evening for Iguodala after having missed 11 straight this postseason.
The series now shifts to Oakland with the Warriors having somehow swiped homecourt advantage away from Toronto. The Raptors will be kicking themselves for dropping Game 2, as they went ice-cold from three-point range, hitting 11-of-38 (29 percent) and simply couldn’t get enough production around Leonard. Fred Van Vleet was the lone bright spot aside from Leonard, as he had 17 points off the bench, but Game 1 hero Pascal Siakam struggled, going 5-of-18 from the floor, and no one else could pick up enough of the slack offensively.
The Warriors were the ones who got the total team effort, led by their trio of stars, but with strong contributions from a number of players, which they desperately need in Durant’s absence — and now possibly Thompson, depending on the severity of his hamstring injury. The third quarter proved pivotal for Golden State as it has so often this postseason, but this series seems to hinge on the health of Thompson and Durant as it shifts across the continent.