The Toronto Raptors are one(!) win away from being crowned champions of the NBA.
The players were stone-faced after last night’s thrilling 105-92 Game Four victory, all echoing the same message — they won’t be happy until the job is complete. We, the fans, however, can gleefully revel in another dominant performance. Thousands of fans celebrated in downtown Toronto. Thousands of fans celebrated in Regina, and Halifax, and all across this nation. Thousands of fans celebrated in Oracle Arena (this time with a better rendition of ‘O Canada’).
In the latest post-game podcast, we break down what went right (everything) and what went wrong (nothing) in, quite possibly, the final game at Oracle Arena.
On The Latest Episode:
As has been the case in every game this series, the Raptors kept winning quarters. They’ve now outscored the Warriors in 13 of 16 quarters, winning every second and fourth quarter, thus far. It was the third quarter where the game swung. Toronto managed to keep the desperate Warriors at bay (pun intended) in the first half, trailing by four after two quarters. Kawhi Leonard came out and snatched the momentum within the first 45 seconds of the second half, hitting two triples (with a steal sandwiched between).
Not surprisingly, Kawhi steadied the ship through a rough first quarter, where he scored 14 of the Raptors’ 17 points. He has been the best player in these playoffs, the best player in the Finals, and is 48 minutes from reclaiming his perch atop the NBA.
You don’t defeat the Golden State Warriors without help. In Game 1, it was Pascal Siakam. In Game 3, it was Kyle Lowry. Last night, Serge Ibaka was a man on a mission. He took advantage of a Warriors front court that is not fully healthy (Kevon Looney, Demarcus Cousins) or simply over-matched (Andrew Bogut, Jordan Bell). Mafuzzy was cooking on the largest stage!
Nick Nurse continued his impressive coaching stretch. In the aforementioned third quarter surge, he, again, started the half with Fred VanVleet in Danny Green’s spot. Later in that quarter, after Klay Thompson headed to the bench, he employed his box and-1 defense on Steph Curry. It was mocked by players and media alike as a high school defense, yet the Warriors couldn’t muster a single point against it... again!
This was a must-win game for Golden State, but it was Toronto that played with more urgency, limiting the Warriors to a playoff season-low, 92 points. Cousins (6 points in 14 minutes) and Looney (10 points in 20 minutes) both did not look right. Kevin Durant is still not playing. You can’t help but wonder that even if KD returns, will it be too little, too late against the NBA’s best defense?
One game. 48 minutes. 2,880 seconds. The Raptors are potentially that close to hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy — inside Scotiabank Arena. They’re the first team to beat the Warriors three times in a row at Oracle during Steve Kerr’s tenure. They’ve defeated the Warriors five out of six times this season. Golden State has trailed by double-digits in each of their last seven(!) games. If they trail by that amount at any point on Monday, Toronto may experience an earthquake. It’s time to make history on Monday!
5:30 - One
9:55 - More
17:15 - Win