Game 4 of the NBA finals did turn out to be the most crucial game after all. The biggest win in franchise history up until now, the Toronto Raptors took Game 4, going back home with a comfortable 3-1 lead and if you ask me, I did not see that coming. Durant still ruled out but Klay Thompson available for Game 4, I thought the Warriors would’ve had this in the bag after Stephen Curry’s blowout performance in Game 3 but now Warriors face elimination going back to Toronto for Game 5.
The game started off slow with multiple turnovers on both ends, Demarcus Cousins turning the ball over thrice in the first 2 minutes of the game and it seemed as if Klay wasn’t in the game mentally in the start. However, the Warriors made some adjustments and turned that around quickly, making the most of Toronto’s weak start. Toronto had great ball movement from the get-go which left Golden State loose on defense but ended up missing wide open shots. Danny Green was 0-6 in the quarter. Klay Thompson picked up where he left off in Game 2 ending the quarter leading Warriors in points. Meanwhile, it was all Kawhi Leonard in the 1st quarter as he was 5-8 FG whereas the rest of the team was 1-13 FG. It seemed clear that the Warriors were playing with a chip on their shoulder and they weren’t going to let this game get out of hand, controlling the pace.
The 2nd quarter had a lacklustre start as well; however, Ibaka came off the bench for Toronto and made his presence felt immediately. Toronto double teamed Thompson every opportunity they got because they knew if Thompson got on a roll, it would be next to impossible to slow him down. Klay, however, noticed the double teams on him and kicked the ball out for an open shot to his teammates. Both teams shot horrible from 3, Golden State 1-5 FG and Raptors 2-10 FG from the 3 point line. Toronto had failed to get the ball in the paint in the 1st quarter and seemed to make a change about it. Pascal Siakam, Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka, all were evident in the 2nd but not Mark Gasol as he did not contribute up until the 3rd quarter; Lowry ended the half with 8 points and 2 crucial steals as well ending the half only trailing by 4 to the Warriors.
The 2nd half of the game had a quick swing in momentum as Kawhi Leonard hit back to back 3’s, giving Toronto the first lead of the game. That was the first time it seemed as if the Raptors came to not to play, but to win. And all of a sudden, the Raptors team that were shooting horrifically in the first half, started draining their 3’s coming out of the locker room.
I have to say, I’ve got to give credit to Toronto’s Head Coach Nick Nurse, being a rookie coach in the NBA and handling his team so well.
Stephen Curry had struggled through the first half and that carried throughout the 3rd as well but thank god for Klay Thompson and his deadeye shooting. Thompson lit up Toronto, picking the pace on offense which led to an exciting back and forth a couple of minutes. Toronto played smart, drawing contact off defenders and going to the Free Throw line. Toronto was able to generate a lot of points off free throws whereas Golden State did not make the most of their opportunities. By the end of the 3rd, the Raptors had made a sizable push with Leonard absolutely dominating the quarter with the help of Serge Ibaka. Toronto ended the quarter with a 13 point advantage, making the most off drawing fouls and finding constant mismatches.
This was the last quarter or even the last game for the Warriors on their home ground so it was all or nothing for them.
This will be the last season for the Warriors in Oracle arena as they’ll be shifting to a new arena after this offseason.
With Toronto’s sizable lead, it was hard but not impossible for the Warriors to mount a comeback as they have done it multiple times on several occasions. With Curry struggling from the field, Thompson got hot and started draining shots to cut the lead. The Warriors had missed a lot of open shots which led to this lead and they have no one to blame but themselves as they got a lot of open shots but were unable to drain them. The game came to a halt when Fred Van Vleet’s left eye started bleeding after a collision with Shaun Livingston’s elbow. It wasn’t a flagrant foul but Van Vleet had to be escorted from the court back to the locker room.
As the game went back on, Leonard and Ibaka erupted in the 4th, giving Toronto a 16 point cushion. The Raptors absolutely broke down the Warriors defense all while the Warriors were struggling at the offensive side as well. Golden State ended up missing a lot of free throws, some crucial ones as well which could’ve turned the game around but ended up trailing big time. At times it was so evident that the Warriors were only looking for Curry and Thompson to score while they were locked down on D by Green and Lowry. Toronto showed great poise at the end of the 4th, holding the ball and good clock management as to not give the Warriors any hope of coming back and eventually went onto win the game.
Toronto had a slow start to the game but they stayed composed and played good defense which eventually helped them get back and win it all.
Warriors started off the game really well but were unable to keep up the pace as the game went on giving Toronto a 3-1 lead.
The most disappointing player in these finals so far has been Demarcus Cousins. Someone who can get past anyone on the low-post, playing worse than Andrew Bogut this series. I feel as if Bogut could contribute more than Cousins, after all, he is the MVP of the Australian League. Even Kevon Looney had a much better performance than Cousins.
With Game 5 scheduled back in Toronto, Warriors will be facing elimination and it will be going big or go home for them. If the Warriors force a Game 6, it will be back in the Oracle arena but if they end up losing, Toronto will win their first title in franchise history, something that has never been done before. The Warriors are in dire need of Kevin Durant because it seems as if he’s the only one who could help the Warriors get out of this deficit.
I have a strong feeling that Toronto might end up taking it all back on their home turf but you should never count out the Warriors. Game 5 of the 2019 NBA finals will be back in Toronto, Tuesday, 11/06, 6:30 am IST. Tune in to witness history being made. Where amazing happens.