OAKLAND -- The Toronto Raptors are going home with a chance to win the NBA championship at Scotiabank Arena. And they'll have that chance because they're now 3-0 at Oracle Arena this season after an impressive 105-92 victory in Game 4 of The Finals on Friday.
Kawhi Leonard led the way with 36 points, his eighth game with 35 points or more in these playoffs. His 17 points in the third quarter are tied for the fourth most he's scored in any quarter in his career. The Raptors also got a big game off the bench from Serge Ibaka (20 points, two blocks) and key contributions from Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry.
One stat stood out from the rest as the Raptors took a 3-1 series lead with the series heading back to Toronto for Game 5 on Monday (9 ET, ABC).
96.8 -- Points per 100 possessions scored by the Warriors in Game 4.
That's the Warriors' least efficient offensive game by a wide margin in the playoffs (the previous low was 107.2). It was also their third-least efficient performance in 26 total Finals games over the last five years.
This was an ugly game on both ends of the floor for much of the first half. At the break, both teams had scored less than a point per possession, combining to shoot 4-for-30 from 3-point range. But Toronto had a huge third quarter, scoring 37 points on 23 possessions (the most efficient quarter for either team in this series) and the Warriors just couldn't keep up.
For most of the night, Toronto forced the ball out of Stephen Curry's hands or at least forced him into tough shots. Curry scored 27 points, but shot just 2-for-9 from 3-point range and 9-for-22 overall.
Klay Thompson returned from a one-game absence and made 6 of his 10 3-point attempts on his way to 28 points. But the other eight Warriors that played were 0-for-8 on 3s, and the lack of attempts was just as damaging as the fact that none of those eight attempts went in.
Turnovers were another issue. In fact, the Warriors committed four of them (all live balls) on their first six possessions of the game. DeMarcus Cousins managed four turnovers by himself in less than 15 minutes of playing time.
With 19 total turnovers on Friday, the Warriors now have 15 more turnovers than the Raptors in the series. Golden State actually shot better than Toronto in Game 4, but turnovers and free throws were the difference. While the Raptors shot 23-for-24 from the line, the defending champs made just 14 of their 21 attempts. That's tied for their third-worst free throw shooting game of the season (102 total games).
The Warriors had the No. 1 offense in the regular season, scoring a record 114.9 points per 100 possessions. And through their first 19 games of the postseason, they had been even more efficient, scoring 115.5 per 100. Even without Thompson in Game 3 (when their defense was the problem), they scored efficiently enough (109 points on 99 possessions) to win.
But now, through four games, they've been held to 107.2 points per 100 possessions in The Finals by what has been an elite defense. In each round of these playoffs, the Raptors have held their opponent to at least seven fewer points per 100 possessions than that team scored in the regular season. And right now, the Warriors are having their least efficient series since the 2016 conference finals (106.9).
They came back from a 3-1 deficit in that series. To do the same in this one, they've got issues to fix on both ends of the floor.
|OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions|
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = % of available offensive rebounds obtained
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