OAKLAND, CA. – They got their money worth it. Bay Area is a long way to travel, so you can as well get the full Golden State Warrior experience.
It was Raptors' last regular season's visit to a place that is in its last season and has been revealed by endless nightmares to Toronto, Wineless here since 2004.
During the pre-game, midway between the earmarked pump noise that is part of the Oracle Arena statute, the public addressee emphasized that the Golden State would seek revenge for the Raptors victory in Toronto last month when Warriors played without Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
But they were healthy on Wednesday, making the matchup between NBA-leading Raptors and two-time defense champion Warriors as good as it gets, although Toronto played the other night of a back-to-back and without Kawhi Leonard who was sitting for the second straight game with a broken right hip.
On paper, it was only sensible that Raptors would be easy choices with the whole world to look at ESPN.
Not so fast.
In a competition that shows why sports betting is a terrible idea, the short-sleeved, tired-tired Raptors definitely beat the most dominant team season in the NBA story, 113-93. They held the Warriors to only six and the mighty Curry to only 10 points while Kyle Lowry led the Raptors by 23 points and 12 assists when all five starters hit double figures.
A lot of results could have been expected.
The warriors are killing the raptors? Of course. All excuses in the world were available to them, some of them the reasons.
The raptors struggle hard to the end but fall short? It could have been my effort.
But Toronto almost leads wire-to-wire and never gives the warriors a daylight and sends scores of their manic fans up at times to hit traffic before the fourth quarter was half past?
A triumphant "Let's Go Raptors & # 39; chant echo over a fast emptying arena that the horn sounded?
But Raptors did it, using an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter to build on their first 36 minutes of impeccable work and open a 26-point lead at 8:48 to play. The warriors waved the white flag five minutes back when main trainer Steve Kerr pulled his starters. It was only Warriors' 24. home loss since they started their championship run five years ago – against 123 victories. Amazing.
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The winner improved Toronto's record to 23-7 – a franchise-best through 30 games – and improved his status as NBA's best story so far this season. That the club improved to 7-1 without Leonard and 2-0 against Warriors (19-10), who entered the game as the top seed in the Western Conference, is the sauce. What else? Raptors are now 2-0 on what was rightly projected as a monster Western swing, as they enjoy one evening Thursday before playing in Portland on Friday night.
When they come from the caves of their exhaust, they win against Los Angeles Clippers, which was No. 2 in the West when the Raptors flooded them the night before, it is almost undoubtedly the franchise's most impressive back-to-back stretch in its history.
"I love Oracle. I love the fans here. I love the building," said Lowry. I think they are moving to a new building next year, so it will be an unanswered place, but it's special. This is a large building. The atmosphere is incredible. They have made special things here. But it's just a big building … we lost 13 in a row, I count as an organization … guess they're going to start a new strip. What more can I say?
The raptors led 57-41 by half and missed through the wars as the magician makes the lady in a box when they ran out to a 13-point lead on the Golden State after the first quarter – the biggest hole Warriors has been in the game at home this season. Then, they held the service with the other device, as Raptor's main coach Nick Nurse chose to tighten his rotation a little by giving Lowry and Siakam a longer time with the fighting other device. The Raptors pushed their lead to 18 on an Ibaka floater with one minute to play and went into half in full control, to the extent possible against NBA's most explosive offense. They did it in the first half by keeping them 38.6 percent shot and only three total triples, shades of what should come.
The warriors did not take their "A & # 39; Games and Raptors punished them for it.
"They have a bit of everything – athletic wings and bigs who can shoot three and put the ball on the floor," said Curry. "We know Kyle Lowry is a great player … tonight they were of course the better team and everyone seemed to have confidence and played very well and ultimately we did not."
The only cloud was an unpleasant injury to Jonas Valanciunas, who disturbed his right thumb as green swiped on the ball when the great Lithuanian gathered it in paint. Valanciunas were in pain and the replays showed their thumbs at a horrible angle. There was no fault with the doctor, even though there were those in the Raptors camp, who thought it was a reckless chop on Greens. It will probably cost Valanciunas a long time – a shame as he was effective finishing in the paint against the wars, just like he has been all season. But Raptors' depth is something else and they could get good minutes from the little used Greg Monroe and will be able to trust him if Valanciunas is out for a long time.
After half the shooters continued to push. Even when the warriors attempted to position themselves for a quarter of a century, Fred VanVleet fought to steal on Kevin Durant, taking the length of the floor to a breakdown and sapping home speed with one of a handful of sharp games that helped the raptors to maintain a healthy 15-point pillow with 12 minutes to play.
But that was what Raptor's signed up did not? A chance to beat the kings at their seat?
Before the game, it was worth asking how Raptors would handle the Golden State with its full roster (lesser Andre Iguodala, with hip injury) and especially Curry, who returned to the lineup game after Warrior's visit to Toronto and immediately resumed the lighting of League that few ever have.
Through 17 games, the Curry average of an NBA best 30.1 points was a game while shooting a prehistoric 50 percent from three. Only six players have ever shot better than 50 percent from deep since the line was introduced in 1979 while at least one game took place and three times it occurred in the mid 90's when the line was shortened to 22 feet and nine inches. Nobody has ever done it, while even three tries try a game.
Could he be the first high-volume three-point shooter to do half of his trials?
"Definitely [someone can shoot 50 per cent from three], but you would expect it was from a guy just standing there and being wide open and shooting three of them a game. There are a couple of guys who have done it before, "said Kerr, NBA's all-time leader in three-point accuracy, poking fun on himself." As for flying around as Steph does and shoots of the dribble and shoot the amount of trees he does and shoot the half-shots at the end of the quarters, it's fearless that it's hardly possible to do that during the year, but I do not put anything past Steph is safe. "
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But Curry has never had a chance when he had to slay a 2-of-8 night and only scored 12 shots for an underwhelming 10 point. VanVleet got into his shirt and Danny Green chased him around and made him work in the mail at times. Klay Thompson (14 points on 17 shots) was also rumors. It was elite team defense against the game's best offensive weapon.
"We just tried to make them uncomfortable," said VanVleet. "They are one of the best teams in the league for a reason and their insult [is as well]so we tried to take their most important guys out and make them do things they are not good at doing and try to play their tendencies and take things away and I thought we did a good job after the game .
"Of course, there is a lot to do with those who are missing shots sometimes. They missed some open ones as they usually do, but you would hope that the aggressiveness and disturbance we tried to play at the defensive end [paid off]. "
It was part of the recipe for one of the most unlikely games that Raptors have ever played at Oracle Arena last season, Warriors will play here before they go to shining graves in San Francisco.
They closed the curry. They closed all of them. They sent a message that was hard to ignore and will not be forgotten.