The Golden State Warriors left it all on the court Wednesday night against the Raptors, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, ultimately falling to the full-strength Eastern Conference Champions 123-109.
Just before the 6 p.m. PT tip-off, Dub Nation was informed — along with the rest of the world — that hobbled-guard Klay Thompson (hamstring) would not be playing in Wednesday night's contest. During his postgame interview, Warriors coach Steve Kerr explained the rationale behind holding Klay out for Game 3:
Altogether, Golden State entered the night without All-Stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and X-factor off the bench, Kevon Looney. Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins are both still not quite 100% after coming back from their injuries, though, the two of them are showing their grit and giving everything they've got. At the same time, the Toronto Raptors are remarkably healthy, boasting their full starting-five and complimentary bench lineup.
Though the Warriors had just come off of an encouraging and energizing Game 2 road win, during which they lost Klay and Looney, Game 3's odds had to be considered overwhelmingly in favor of the Raptors. From the jump, Toronto played exactly as they were expected; they knew they had a "golden" opportunity, and they were not going to let it slip from their grasp. Holding a comfortable lead throughout the duration of the game, fluctuating between seven and up to 17 points, Toronto overmatched Golden State through and through.
In fact, were it not for Stephen Curry's playoff career-high 47 points, the Dubs would have probably been blown out by a wide margin. Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins never really found their rhythm throughout the entire night. Quinn Cook could not provide that great spark off the bench, à la his Game 2 performance. The Warrior offense was working well enough to stay in the game, but their defense looked painfully lacking.
Curry, with 10:30 to go in the fourth quarter, gave the Oracle faithful something to get up and cheer for, draining three free-throws, pulling the Dubs to within seven. At any other point in this team's recent storied postseason history, seven points could be covered in mere seconds... Not so, with the construction of the squad on Wednesday. Toronto would roar back, eventually expanding the lead to 17 with 5:42 remaining in regulation. A flurry of defensive energy brought the Dubs as close as to within 10 points, but the back-to-back champs just didn't have enough to match up with the Raptors' full compliment of talent.
Coach Kerr yanked the starters with 1:37 left on the clock and the Raptors leading 118-105. The fans in attendance appeared to sense the significance of the effort exhibited by their extremely banged-up team, cheering their hustle plays late in the game.
Klay and KD will have two days to rehab and prepare for potentially returning to action in Friday night's Game 4. If just one of them is able to go on Friday, in reasonably good shape, look for Golden State to come out with renewed vigor and a sense of urgency that will make them dangerous.