For all the talk about Toronto fielding the toughest defence Golden State has ever faced in their five-year dynastic run, it’s the offence that has the Raptors halfway to an NBA Championship! Toronto’s 123 points are more than anything the Cavaliers could score at Oracle Arena.
The standard for any great shooter is the 50/40/90 club. Only eight players in NBA history have reached those benchmarks in a single season. As a team, the Raptors shot 52/45/95 last night!
Fact of the matter is that the Raptors did what championship teams are supposed to do — step on their opponent while they’re down. Listen to our latest episode as we bask in the glory of another Finals victory.
On The Latest Episode:
The Raptors have already doubled the number of Finals victories the Cavaliers were able to muster over the previous two NBA Finals. Say what you will about who isn’t playing for the Warriors, but the same can be said of every NBA champion. It’s the reason why Kawhi Leonard’s load was managed. The NBA season is a marathon and the Raptors have paced themselves better than any other team.
Toronto went back to what worked in Game 1, sharing the ball to the tune of 29 assists. That ball movement led to an NBA Finals-record-tying 17 triples for the road team. The number 17 is also important because each starter scored at least that amount. Those starters were led by KLOE (x 2).
This victory was a total team effort, with players stepping up in all kinds of ways. Whether it was Danny Green hitting 6 threes, Ibaka amassing 6 blocks, or Fred VanVleet hitting his now-customary, back-breaking, end-of-shot-clock three-pointer, Toronto got contributions throughout the lineup. The Raptors have now outscored the Warriors in 10 of 12 quarters. The team is almost literally a Kawhi steal away from being up 3-0.
If there’s one takeaway from this victory, it’s that the Raptors can actually still play better. Staying focused over a 48-minute stretch against this generation’s best team is tough ask for any team, especially on the road. The Raptors had some momentary lapses in coverage, leading to first half foul trouble. Toronto played well enough to be up 20 in the second quarter. The fact that they “only” got the lead up to 13 shows the Raptors still have some gaps to fill.
The quick turnaround to Game 4 may work in the Raptors favour. Klay Thompson will surely return, albeit less than 100%. The same probably cannot be said about Kevin Durant. Watch the end of the clip below and tell me if he looks ready to play.
KD was there to greet his guys in the tunnel following the Warriors' Game 3 loss. pic.twitter.com/CPzCgGcVLV— ESPN (@espn) June 6, 2019
On the Raptors side of the injury list, garbage time would have been an ideal time to see OG Anunoby make his Finals debut. The fact that he didn’t is a little troubling. Here’s hoping he sees some court time on Friday.
While Danny easily had his best game of the playoffs, isn’t it time to tether FVV to Curry? We’ve already seen Nick Nurse employ this strategy with Marc Gasol and Joel Embiid, then Kawhi and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Yes, Curry still scored 31 of his 47 points on FVV, but his shooting percentages were still sub-standard. Klay’s return will re-distribute some of Curry’s field goal attempts. Sticking VanVleet to Curry’s hip should further decrease his scoring.
2:30 - So. Many. Numbers.
6:55 - Total Team Effort
13:00 - Keep Grinding