The Warriors were without Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant for Game 3 Thursday — the former missing the first playoff game of his career, following 120 consecutive appearances. (KD has been out since he strained his right calf in Game 5 against the Rockets on May 8th.)
Warriors: “You should rest for Game 3”
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) June 5, 2019
In a heroic but ultimately vain effort, Steph Curry scored 47 points, making him just the second player in NBA history to score at least that many points in Finals game loss — following LeBron’s 51 points in last year’s Game 1 against the Warriors.
But while the Cavs went on to get swept in that series, the Warriors are facing significantly less daunting odds, with the hard-fought series set at 2-1 Raptors. Besides, on a roster full of nobodies and has-beens (looking at you, J.R. Smith), it was a shock that Bron could propel his team to the Finals.
Steph, meanwhile, is on one of the most stacked rosters in the league, with all-time great Kevin Durant — who had been averaging 34.2 points a game during the playoffs before his injury — and All-stars in Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.
The latter two didn’t produce much in Game 3, scoring 17 points and 11, respectively, and the Warriors were sorely missing KD and Klay Thompson’s defense. That left Steph in the strange position of putting the team on his back.
Comparatively, the big scorers on the Raptors were more evenly spread, with Kawhi putting up 30 points; Kyle Lowry posting 23 (in a game where he got shoved by a fan, who turned out to be Mark Stevens, billionaire and part owner of the Warriors); and Pascal Siakam and Danny Green both scoring 18.
Kyle Lowry was shaking his head after a courtside fan pushed him when he fell into the crowd. pic.twitter.com/5SwQv3hdnN
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 6, 2019
Green credited Shaq with game-changing shooting advice. Shaq told him to “leave it,” or leave his hand up; hold his follow-through and be confident in his shot. In Game 3, Green ended up going 6-for-10, all of them 3-pointers.
Coach Steve Kerr announced that KD will be out for Game 4 on Friday, but that Thompson will be in.
Kerr on KD: The training staff says he’s not ready to play. The Warriors were hopeful KD would participate in some scrimmages later today — Kerr says he’s not ready for that yet.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) June 6, 2019
This begs the question: could Thompson have played Game 3? After Game 3, Kerr said, “Never would have forgiven myself if I played him tonight and he had gotten hurt.”
Kerr wanted to play it safe, but did he play it too safe? Or was sitting Thompson out the most rational choice? Wherever you fall in this debate, one thing is undisputed: Game 4 is a must-win for the Warriors.
At this point, they might need to just unleash their secret weapon!
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