A realistic path to a championship for the Raptors starts with a win tonight. It might seem blunt to put it that way, but consider the circumstances.
We know that the Warriors are banged up heading into tonight’s Game 3, as the series shifts to Oakland for the next two. Klay Thompson will either play hobbled or not at all, as Steve Kerr has designated him a game time decision due to a hamstring injury.
Klay Thompson is still a game-time decision. Will get his pre-game workout in and they'll make the call from there.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) June 5, 2019
According to reports from valued sources throughout the day, the Warriors would prefer he not play — Klay, being one of the tougher dudes in the league, would prefer... to play.
Reporting with @ramonashelburne: Golden State officials prefer Klay Thompson sit out Game 3 to protect his sore hamstring for the rest of NBA Finals, but Thompson has continued to lobby them on playing tonight. Decision looms prior to tip.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 5, 2019
It doesn’t take a doctor to know that a hamstring injury is one of the more serious a basketball player can suffer. Though Klay barely needs anything to get a shot off, being more stationary removes a defensive threat from the court. The Raptors have to take advantage.
Then there’s the Kevin Durant conundrum. The Raptors have succeeded in this series when they’ve been able to handle Steph Curry (let me be the thousandth person this week to mention the box and one). Their Game 1 win had a defensive backbone to it, where Toronto surrendered everything but the three-point shot, funnelling the Warriors to the rim. Durant is the cheat code, though — and eventually his return will change the dimensions of this series.
So no Durant, no Kevon Looney, a hobbled Klay, and a lingering calf injury for Andre Iguodala. If there was ever a game the Raptors could steal on the road, which they have to do now to win a title, it might come tonight. Toronto has their share of nicks and bruises, but have surely studied enough film to avoid some of the back cuts and transition play that lost them Game 2. With the pressure turned up, let’s see how it shakes out for them.
Now, here’s the game details.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet, 9 PM ET
Toronto - Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Golden State - Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins
Toronto - none
Golden State - Klay Thompson (out - hamstring), Kevin Durant (out - calf), Kevon Looney (out - collarbone)