Posted on June 8, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Golden State got a much-needed boost Friday night for Game Four with the return of Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney—and both ended up turning in solid performances during the game. However, in the end, the Warriors still needed something more in order to beat the Toronto Raptors.
But they didn’t have anything more and ended up moving within a game of elimination with a 105-92 loss.
At first, it looked like the Warriors had a chance. While they struggled to hit shots throughout the first half, the Raptors struggled even more. After the first quarter, the Warriors held a 23-17 advantage. But the Raptors did a little better in the second quarter and narrowed the gap to four points entering half time, 46-42.
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It was an uncharacteristic half for both teams as everyone struggled to make three-pointers. Klay Thompson managed to hit two of four attempts and Kawhi Leonard hit to of five. But the rest of both teams combined were 0-21, including Steph Curry who was 0-5.
As the second half got underway, fans likely braced themselves for another third-quarter explosion by the Warriors. While they did get an explosion, it did not come from Golden State.
Leonard got the Raptors off to a good start with a three-pointer over Draymond Green, stole the ball from Green on the next possession, and then hit another three to give Toronto the lead, 48-46, just 46 seconds into the quarter.
They battled over the lead for most of the remainder of the quarter. Klay Thompson put the Warriors back on top, 61-59, with a 27-foot three-pointer at the 5:11 mark. But then the Raptors closed the quarter with a 20-6 run to take a 79-67 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Golden State got within eight late in the fourth but never really threatened to retake control of the game. Toronto led by double digits for most of the quarter and went on to win by 13.
Much like Game Two, the Raptors had trouble hitting uncontested shots in the first half making just five of 20. But in the second half, they started making those shots and hit 12 of 16 including five of seven from three-point range.
Should the Raptors go onto win the Finals, Leonard may have locked up the Finals MVP with his third quarter performance. Along with hitting the two clutch shots to open the half, he scored 17 in the quarter as Toronto outscored Golden State 37-21 and took over the game.
“Kawhi’s two big 3s to start the half really, I thought, changed the whole feel of everybody,” Toronto head coach Nick Nurse said after the game, via ESPN. “I just thought everybody was like, ‘OK, man, we know we are here. Let’s go.’
“We just kind of kept going from [there].”
Leonard finished the game with 36 points and 12 rebounds followed b Serge Ibaka with 20 off the bench and Pascal Siakam with 19 points. Kyle Lowry chipped in ten and Fred VanVleet had eight before heading to the locker room early in the fourth after taking a hard elbow to the mouth.
Thompson ended up leading the way for the Warriors with 28 points followed by Steph Curry with 27. Kevon Looney chipped in ten off the bench and Draymond Green had a good all-around game with ten points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds.
The series will now move back to Toronto for what could be a decisive Game Five. Only one other team has ever overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals before (the 2016 Cavaliers—against the Warriors).
Toronto has opened as a 3.5 point favorite for the game and is now a strong favorite to win the Series (-600).