When I was 12 years old, my community basketball coach preached that the most important part of a basketball game was the first five minutes of the second half.
I’m not sure if he ever talked to the Golden State Warriors, but they certainly heeded that message Friday night. Leading the Toronto Raptors by five at halftime, they went on a devastating 20-5 run to start the second half, then rode it out to a 126-105 win.
The Raptors got a signature night from Greivis Vasquez, maybe his best game of the season so far, as he put in a team-high 25 points with seven assists and five rebounds. Kyle Lowry added 22 points and eight assists.
The Warriors, now 26-5, were led by Stephen Curry, who was simply phenomenal with 32 points, 12 assists and five boards. Draymond Green had a triple-double in support with 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. Also not to be forgotten, Marreese Speights had the soft touch all night for 26 points and eight rebounds.
The Raptors, who fall to 24-9 and out of first place in the Eastern Conference, did show the bite they’ve had this entire road trip. With frenzied pace, the Warriors put up 40 in the first quarter, 20 of which came from Speights and Green. Answering was an unconventional move by Dwane Casey in the second. With Jonas Valanciunas getting exposed in pick and roll defence, Casey went with a grouping of Lowry, Vasquez, Lou Williams, Terrence Ross and Amir Johnson. The tiny dinos lineup worked. Toronto went from 13 down to up 59-57, punctuating the run with this Amir putback dunk.
Then, of course, came halftime and… The Run. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were the catalysts in the third quarter, with Curry throwing it down in awesome fashion to send the ORACLE Arena crowd into a frenzy.
The Raptors simply had no answers for the Warriors offense. They shared the ball beautifully, getting 35 assists on 49 made field goals. They shot 53 per cent from the field and made 12 three-pointers. At times, it looked like they were in a different league.
Having gone 2-3 up to this point, the Raptors will conclude their six-game road trip in Phoenix on Sunday.
What’d you think of this one?