The 2nd game of the NBA finals did not disappoint at all. As expected, the Warriors came prepared to face Toronto this time, avoiding another loss on the road before going back home to Oracle Arena.
The Warriors played tight defence from the start, matching up against Toronto perfectly. Demarcus Cousins started the game and turned out to be a great contributor in the game eventually. Draymond Green controlled and pushed the pace on offense creating shots for Curry and Thompson. Curry had an extremely slow start but Thompson carried the load scoring the first 11 points for the Warriors. Raptors ended up in foul trouble early which gave the Warriors a lot of free throws.
The 2nd quarter of the game had shooting struggles from both sides. Toronto came into foul trouble early but improved their defense drastically, on the other hand, rotating well on players. Fred Van Vleet kept the pace up for the Raptors off the bench, scoring and creating opportunities for others. Klay Thompson kept the Warriors in the game going 3-3 on 3points racking up 18 points in the first half. Leonard contributed 16 points in the half with free throws and and-ones, keeping Toronto in front of the Warriors. Curry came alive eventually late in the 2nd quarter closing the deficit and ending the half with only a 5 point lead.
The second half of the game showed two different teams entirely. Warriors took the lead scoring 11 straight points from the start of the 3rd quarter, pushing the momentum in their direction. Raptors, on the other hand, had a horrific start on offense going 1-13 FG in the 3rd along with multiple turnovers. Their defense got soft as well and Golden State took full advantage of it. Demarcus Cousins showed why he is one of the better passing big men in the league racking up 4 assists and setting screens off the ball. The Warriors scored 16 straight points before it came to an end as the Raptors finally scored a basket. Kawhi Leonard was the only thing keeping the Raptors hanging scoring 8 points in the quarter. Second chance points were another thing that kept Toronto into it as they had 20 points off second-chance whereas the Warriors had none. Pascal Siakam struggled heavily in the 3rd quarter and in the game scoring 12 points on a 5-18 shooting night. So did Mark Gasol and Kyle Lowry. Lowry distributed the ball well but Gasol was unable to spread the floor and missed a couple of open jumpers.
Cousins turned out to be a big factor in the 4th quarter scoring in the paint and grabbing rebounds. Quinn Cook of the Warriors came off the bench to hit 3 straight 3’s setting putting Toronto in a tough spot. Klay Thompson was pulled out of the game with a hamstring issue and ended the game with 25 points on a good shooting night. The Warriors had excellent ball movement down the 4th leaving Toronto in a state of frenzy. Toronto was unable to protect the paint and even drive penetration from the Warriors. It was then when Leonard took the matter into his hands to spark a run by running right over multiple defenders and converting and-ones. However, he came up short in front of a good scoring Warriors team. The Warriors could’ve shot the ball much better as compared to how they shoot when they are at full strength. The final minutes of the game showed a scoring drought and eventually, Van Vleet made a deep three to make it a 2 possession game but Iguodala answered right back with a three to even it up. The Warriors eventually went onto win the game and go home by the series tied-up to one game apiece.
The Warriors need the same maybe a little more energy from Demarcus Cousins to win game 3. Andre Bogut got some time and made the most of it. If given more minutes, I think Bogut could be a key factor in this series. Although the Warriors need to be at full strength and if Klay Thompson does not return for game 3, that will, in turn, hurt the Warriors big time on offense. Draymond Green did a great job circulating the ball and on defense, though Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston could contribute a little more since they are an important part of the rotation.
The Raptors, on the other hand, need to keep the same energy they had in the first half throughout the game to win game 3. Pascal Siakam was a great scorer in game 1 and has to find the same range in game 3. Same goes for Mark Gasol as he needs to focus on his mid-range and 3point shooting. Kyle Lowry has been a little disappointing in the first 2 games as Fred Van Vleet is picking up where Lowry left off. Lowry hasn’t been great scoring the ball but has done an adequate job passing the ball and taking charges so far.
The game 3 of the NBA finals will be on Warriors home ground at Oracle Arena. If Klay Thompson ends up playing in game 3, you can see the Warriors winning the game if they hold the same pace as game 2. At least that’s what I think. Let’s see what happens down the road when game 3 of the NBA finals go down on Thursday 6:30 am IST.