The Golden State Warriors fought hard to hold on and win a nail-biter against the Toronto Raptors 109-104, sending the Finals to Oakland, tied 1-1. However, the Dubs, already down one star in Kevin Durant, would leave the court with another potentially crushing blow due to injury.
Early on in the second of seven possible Finals games, Toronto looked poised to repeat their Game 1 performance. Steph Curry was struggling, Kawhi and the Raptors offense seemed to be firing on all cylinders, and Golden State just looked generally out of sorts.
In fact, Curry didn't score from the field until 3:53 remaining in the second quarter. Before that, the All-NBA guard had managed just four points on 4-5 from the free-throw line. Up to that point, Klay Thompson (16 pts), Draymond Green (9 pts), and DeMarcus Cousins (7 pts – all in 2nd quarter) had taken care of the heavy lifting offensively for Golden State, keeping them within striking distance of a Raptor team smelling blood in the water. Just before the 3:53 mark in the second, Toronto led 47-37.
Then, Curry broke free and nailed a three...
Golden State would go on to close out the half on a 17-12 run, with the two-time MVP scoring nine, himself. What had seemed like the makings of a potential rout, suddenly was just a five-point Raptor halftime lead.
Cue the patented Warriors third-quarter magic...
Picking up where they left off, the Dubs came out on absolute fire in the second half. With renewed vigor, the offense was crisp, the ball was moving, and shooters and cutters were doing their thing and getting open. Most importantly, stout defense was leading to easy offense. Over the first 5:40 of the third quarter, Golden State scored 18 unanswered points, transforming what was a 59-54 Raptor-lead into a commanding 72-59 Warrior-lead.
Things were going great for Golden State right up until about 1:20 into the fourth quarter. Klay came down awkwardly, favoring his left leg. He would remain in the game for a couple of minutes, before ultimately calling to the bench for a sub. Having just had their hearts ripped out of their chests for a second time this postseason, the Dubs had to get their heads back in the game and preserve the victory.
With Thompson in the locker room, Curry, Draymond, Andre Iguodala, and Cousins scratched and clawed and played tough defense, receiving excellent assistance from bench players Quinn Cook and Shaun Livingston. Cook was huge, knocking down three three-pointers (one in the third quarter, two in the fourth). Down the stretch, Golden State and Toronto both struggled to score. Raptors guard Danny Green hit a three-pointer with 26.9 seconds left in regulation, cutting the Warrior-lead to two (106-104).
On the ensuing possession, Curry was harassed endlessly, forcing him to cough the ball up and almost throw it away. Livingston made a great play to save what could have been a Kawhi Leonard steal and game-tying layup, finding a wide open Iguodala behind the three-point line. The Toronto defenders kept their distance as the seconds ticked off, daring Iggy to shoot. With a few seconds left on the shot and game clock, Andre launched and hit the dagger-three, leaving 5.9 seconds for the Raptors to make up the five-point deficit.
Toronto in-bounded, missed a shot, and the game was finally over. Golden State had held on, battered and bruised, earning a hard-fought road victory. After the game, Curry was interviewed by ESPN's Doris Burke, during which the Splash Brother was noticeably weak and somewhat dazed. Coach Steve Kerr reportedly said the star-guard was dealing with dehydration throughout the game.
Curry offered this explanation, according to ESPN's Nick Friedell:
"Just didn't feel right," Curry said. "But at the start of the game, but at the end of the day nothing's going to keep you out from playing in the Finals game, if you can help it. So I have plenty of time to recover before Game 3. Don't really know what the cause was – just didn't feel right."
Klay Thompson is scheduled for an MRI today, in Oakland, to gain further insight into his injured hamstring. Center Kevon Looney also left Game 2 with an injury, although there was some confusion regarding what part Looney's body was affected. The team reportedly said it was a chest contusion, while coach Kerr told reporters that Looney was dealing with "something with his shoulder."
The Warriors have three days to rest up ahead of their Game 3 showdown, back home at Oracle Arena, Wednesday night in Oakland.