I really didn't think the Raptors were going to pull that one out. I thought it would just be a matter of time before Curry, Thompson or SOMEONE on the Warriors caught fire and fizzled out a strong Raptors effort. But what an effort it was, especially in the 4th quarter. Holding the Warriors to under 100 points is no small feat. Toronto forced Golden State to play a slower pace than they would have preferred, and used an energized defense to go toe to toe for 48 minutes. It was a great performance across the board, and almost everyone that stepped on the court for the Raps made a positive contribution at some point during the game. It was pretty much the best example of a great team win.
With Terrence Ross sitting this one out with a sore ankle, Landry Fields (remember him?) got the start. Although the Raptors had some spacing issues with him on the court, they managed to stay within striking distance of the Warriors for the entirety of the frame. The Warriors rode a red hot Stephen Curry and David Lee to inch ahead 28-25 after 1 quarter. The Raptor bench had a great second quarter however, holding the Warriors to under 30% shooting to storm ahead 55-50 at halftime.
The 3rd quarter flipped the script of the previous 12 minutes (wasn't kidding about this being a back and forth affair), as the Warriors held the Raptors to only 20 points. Most of the bench was struggling to that point, namely John Salmons and Patrick Patterson (1-9 between them at the time). The Warriors had started to build up some fluidity in all facets of the game at the end of the 3rd Q and a couple of minutes into the last quarter. When the lead grew to 6 with the Raptors bench floundering, Dwane Casey called a perfect timeout to get his starters in. The Raptors mauled the Warriors for the remainder of the game and rode some red-hot shooting from DeRozan and PPat to take this one impressively 103-98.
- DeMar DeRozan: You could make a very good argument that this was DeMar's career-best performance. Seriously. DeMar had 32 points on 16 shots, while Curry had 34 on 27. Bizzaro World, indeed. Not to mention that he complemented that with 6 assists, 0 turnovers and 4 rebounds. Hit some TOUGH jumpers at the end of the 4th quarter to put the game away. Mammoth performance by DeRozan. Don't forget he was being guarded by Andre Iguodala all game. Fantastic stuff.
- Landry Fields: Bad contract or not, if Landry Fields continues playing this way, he can carve out a niche for himself on this team as the playoffs near. He was at his opportunistic best offensively, didn't take any shots he couldn't make (i.e. jumpshots), and did a good job defensively on Curry/Thompson when asked. 8 points, 6 boards on 4 of 5 shooting. Good to see him again.
- Patrick Patterson: Dude just gets it done somehow. He was struggling shooting the ball 3 quarters into the game, but his shot came around and really came through for the Raptors in the 4th quarter. Hit some timely 3 pointers and as always, his mobility as a big man makes him a good defender of pick and rolls. 12 points and 5 boards off the bench. Solid as always.
- EVERYONE: As I mentioned before, this was a great team win. I can think of everyone having moments to keep the Raptors in this one. JV took Bogut to school in the first quarter. Vasquez led the offense wonderfully when Lowry got into foul trouble in the 2nd quarter. John Salmons was the key cog in our offense in the final 2 minutes of the game and was charged with defending Curry at the end of the game. That's not a typo. Amir Johnson had 9, 9 and 5. Tyler Hansbrough was one of the only reasons the Raptors stayed within striking distance during a poor 3rd quarter. Nando De Colo wore a cool mask. Kyle Lowry did it all and his energy overcame another tough shooting night.
- I'm too blinded by love to think anyone was bad or ugly tonight. You're all beautiful Raptors.