Game 3 Preview: Raptors vs Warriors

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (1-1) @ Golden State Warriors (1-1)

When: Wednesday, June 5th, 9 P.M. ET

Where: Oracle Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, Jordan Loyd (coach’s decision) is listed as out. For the Warriors, Kevin Durant (right calf strain), and Kevon Looney (right 1st costal cartilage non-displaced fracture) are listed as out. Klay Thompson (left hamstring strain) is listed as questionable.

- On the road: The Raptors are in Golden State to play Games 3 and 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Toronto is currently 4-4 on the road in this year’s postseason and have won at least one road game in each of their previous three playoff series. Game 3 is set for Wednesday, June 5 at 9 P.M. ET, while Game 4 will be played Friday, June 7, also at 9 P.M. ET. Because this series started on the road for Golden State, the Warriors have not played a game on their home floor since May 16 when they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. This series will shift back to Toronto for Game 5 on Monday, June 10 at 9 P.M. ET at Scotiabank Arena. 

 - Recent History: The Raptors dropped a 109-104 decision to the Warriors in Game 2 on Sunday. Thanks to a 25-point performance from Klay Thompson, a 23-point performance from Steph Curry, and a 17-point, 10-rebound, nine-assist performance from Draymond Green, Golden State tied the series up at one game apiece. Though Toronto led throughout the first half, the Warriors won the third quarter 34-21, and went into the fourth ahead by eight. Toronto fought its way back down the stretch and a three-pointer from Danny Green had the team within two with 26.9 seconds remaining, but Andre Iguodala drilled a three-pointer with seven seconds on the clock to give the Warriors a five-point lead and seal the Golden State victory. Toronto was led by a 34-point performance from Kawhi Leonard and 17 points off the bench from Fred VanVleet in the loss.

Extra Assists

- Ring it up: Kawhi Leonard has been great on the boards all postseason, pulling down a career-high 17 rebounds in Toronto’s Game 6 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. He was at it again in Game 2, grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds to go with his 34 points, three assists, a block and a steal. “He's a strong player,” Marc Gasol said. “If you want to win at a high level, no matter how strong you are, you have to play like you're really strong and that you have to win every physical battle. When you're on the ball, off the ball, the successful players, they might not be the strongest ones, but they act and believe that they're the strongest “ Leonard is averaging 30.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in the postseason. He also set an NBA Finals record for most free throws made without a miss in a playoff game by shooting 16-for-16 from the line in Game 2. Leonard’s 618 points through 20 playoff games this season is the third-highest point total since 2000-01, trailing only LeBron James (2018) and Allen Iverson (2001). 

- Bet on yourself: Fred VanVleet was Toronto’s second-leading scorer in Game 2, contributing 17 points off the bench while also guarding Steph Curry on the defensive end of the floor. After the game, his effort earned praise from Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “[Getting] 17 points from [Fred] is great and running the team the way he did is great,” Nurse said. “Obviously he’s working hard on defence, too, guarding Curry.” VanVleet has been huge for the Raptors off the bench, scoring at least 10 points in five consecutive games dating back to Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Over that five-game span, he is averaging 16.0 points on 58 percent shooting, including 59 percent from beyond the arc.

- Third quarter energy: After leading throughout the first half in Game 2, things took a sharp turn in the third quarter for the Raptors as the Warriors opened the quarter with an 18-0 run. Though Toronto weathered Golden State’s third-quarter push in a Game 1 victory, through two games in this series, the Warriors are winning the third quarter by a 66-50 margin. This isn’t anything new or surprising, as the Warriors have made a habit of dominating third quarters this season. The Raptors have outscored the Warriors 172-152 in non-third quarter minutes in the series. “[We] just didn't play aggressive,” Kyle Lowry said after watching film of the third quarter in Game 2. “Those first three minutes of the third quarter, we wish we would have had back. We got a couple shots that we missed. Just the overall urgency of coming out with the third quarter, knowing how good they are as a good third-quarter team, we have to be a little bit more aggressive and assertive.” 

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