While the characters have changed too much for it to be an NBA Finals rematch worthy of top billing, you could sense Thursday’s game between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors still came with higher stakes.
The Warriors were up from the opening tap thanks to the return of their superstar, as Steph Curry played his first game back with the team since suffering a hand injury in October. With Curry’s return, you got some of the old magic back with Golden State. There were relocation threes, nifty passes, and that magical gravity that stressed all of us out for two weeks in June.
The supporting cast was willing and able too for the Warriors, but it ended up being the role players for the Raptors who would shine enough to earn a win. Toronto made it two straight wins with a victory, beating Golden State 121-113.
The hero of the game was Norman Powell. Scoring a career-high 37 points — which included 12 straight to open the second half, 13-for-20 from the field overall, and 7-for-7 from the free throw line — Powell was ready to shoulder an offensive load against the perfect opponent for him. With no true centre to slow down Powell’s drives to the rim, Golden State watched helplessly as he was able to create his own layups time and time again.
There was an even more potent Finals throwback for the Raptors, though, as Kyle Lowry came through for 26 points and 10 assists — a huge double double that saw the point guard put together a good start and a good finish.
The performances from Powell and Lowry helped lift a somewhat poor game from Pascal Siakam, who looked off all game with his jumper — shooting 5-for-17 overall and 0-for-7 from three, still getting 17 points thanks to a healthy dose of trips to the charity stripe. Siakam was able to score when it mattered, though, and ended up scoring the two crucial buckets in the game — layups to put the Raptors up 117-113 in the final minute.
ALL-STAR PLAYER MAKING ALL-STAR PLAYS pic.twitter.com/CobH0ccxib— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 6, 2020
The Warriors were led by 23 points each from Curry and Damien Lee, as the Golden State superstar looked fully himself even though he was on a minutes restriction — playing 27 in the end. Curry was just 3-for-12 from three, but looked sharp on the court, and his presence helped improve other players and present a ton of open shots for the Warriors offence. As a team, a 14-for-52 night from distance didn’t cut it, but the number of shots without someone in the area was impressive for a team that’s been a bottom feeder most of the season without Curry.
Next up for the Raptors is a matchup with the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, as they’ll look to stretch a new win streak to three games.