Raptors’ collective threat overwhelms ailing Warriors

Kawhi Leonard

(Reuters) – The Toronto Raptors showcased their strength in depth that undermanned Golden State could not match on Wednesday, taking full advantage of their status as the deeper and healthier team in the NBA Finals.

While champions Warriors were forced to lean on a one-man show of Stephen Curry, who dropped 47 points, the Raptors flaunted their quantity of performers in a 123-109 triumph that gave them a 2-1 best-of-seven series edge.

“We all can score with the offense that we have,” Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard told reporters after scoring a team-high 30 points. “It’s about just moving the ball, playing the team sport and trusting everyone.”

Toronto was in much better position to do that than the Warriors who played without injured guard Klay Thompson after he joined ailing All-Star Kevin Durant on the team’s sideline.

Golden State big man Kevon Looney was also ruled out for the remainder of the series following a fractured collarbone in Game Two.

“When you lose an All-NBA type basketball player in Klay and an All-Star, it definitely changes their team,” said Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry, emphasizing the team’s sense of urgency to win Game Three.

The Raptors stole the show with a complete effort that spotlighted their versatility.

Lowry was at his play-making best, guard Danny Green rained down six three-pointers, forward Pascal Siakam slashed through the defense and reserve Serge Ibaka swatted away six blocked shots.

Toronto fired away 38 three-pointers on the night, looking more like the Warriors than the Warriors themselves.

“Our offense wasn’t very good in Game Two. We tried to play with more pace up the court, and we tried to play with more pace in the half court,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

“I thought you just saw a lot more cutting and passing, obviously 30 assists, you saw a lot more shots go in, that helps, right?”

The Warriors could have both Durant and Thompson return for Game Four on Friday, but the Raptors have proven that their collective can stand firm against any All-Stars.

“We’ll be ready for whoever plays,” Raptors big man Marc Gasol said. “If it’s Kevin, if it’s Klay, whoever it is. We’re going to have a game plan for them and we’re going to try to execute it accordingly.”

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