It's a tired talking point, but that's not true: a game of Raptors-Warriors, even with both teams in their entirety, does not mean much if it happens on November 29. There are still six months until the next really significant matches can happen between these two teams, and this is only if both get to meet at the NBA Finals.
Still, he said: It was absolutely amazing to get to the end of this particular game with the Raptors ensuring a win of an extra 131-128 time against the Warriors – yes, even without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, and despite the lack of significant context. Sometimes we can only enjoy what is at this time. Especially when you hear the twist of a new page directly from a magical fairy tale, instead of a clumsy reality. It turns, however, into a story that we can repeat after it has finished and all those involved have returned to the pumpkins (however long they take).
From the jump, it was clear that the Raptors were ready to make a bold statement. Toronto coach Nick Nurse took the floor in a violet paisley jacket (in honor of Sager Night), and his team took the court under the bright lights and began to present a show. There was a spectacular shot of Kawhi Leonard, a quick quick feather of Pascal Siakam, and the usual game of Kyle Lowry. At the end of the half, with the Warriors hung by the grace of Kevin Durant and the other talents of Klay Thompson, Toronto still took a lead of nine points.
The catalyst for the great majority of the successful Raptors actions tonight, either playing the defense of Durant, or with the right hand of the ball in the basket, was Kawhi. It is a repetitive element, but it remains the central protagonist of Toronto. Tonight, under extreme pressure from the warriors, Leonard fell 37 points in a shot of 14 of 24 (including 3 of 6) of three, to go with eight rebounds, three assists and this stellar defense mentioned above . While the opposite, Kevin Durant, shot with 51 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, which made an impossible shot after firing the entire field. Leonard (and Siakam, and Serge Ibaka, and all the Raptors team) made him work.
All this, this may have been another game for Leonard, one more in a long season, but it definitely seemed to want to be shown. That the coolest superstar in the league put together a game like this After a year and a half since his last meeting with the Warriors he says something: aloud. With or without speaking, Kawhi continues to imbue these Raptors with a murderous trust. Despite the end of the fourth quarter and the elimination of the OT, the Raptors never renounced the leadership on the Warriors, which took into account the minutes of the explosive opening of the game.
In the process, this internal confidence followed the line. Serge Ibaka, from the pivot, made damage to his usual points, putting 20 points in 8 of 13 shots. Pascal Siakam has been perfect through three quarters, only a couple of shots left in the quarter, to finish with 26 points in 8 of 10 shots, including 3 of 4 from three (and a clutch race of 5 points) 6 free throws in OT). Danny Green calmly filled his role in defense, went 5-of-10 in the field by 13 points (including a 3 in OT to seal the win), and started with five boards and three assists. And Kyle Lowry was in his Kyle Lowry-iest. The shot came out of Toronto's emotional leader, but he still had 12 assists and he trusted him with his life while on the basketball court. Lowry did not have the security of a third afternoon in the fourth position, which was seen off the line, but afterwards it was drilled in the last minute of the regulation while going to the corner.
If there was an inconvenience for this game, it was the unfortunate guarantee that Jonas Valanciunas probably does not take place in a game against the Warriors, that OG Anunoby is still a productive and consistent player, that Delon Wright needs a boost of confidence (although, yes, his 3-hour pair tonight), that Fred VanVleet's shot is still farther than in; and that C.J. Thousands may be over. If anything else, the Raptors knew that their 16 players of the game are against their 82 players, and that is nothing, especially with such a deep cast of characters involved. In a series of seven series with the Warriors, probably, Toronto will be forced to roll, at best, with a rotation of eight people: headlines, OG, FVV and what can be obtained from Delon, and that's all . It would be a storybook that would end if this were enough against the Warriors in the biggest sporting scene; We can also begin to believe now, just in case.
I repeat: despite all this, the warriors in their entirety are a completely different story for the Raptors and for all the NBA teams. Any team that uses Curry, Thompson (23 points tonight, in a 9-of-20 shot with an unlucky course of huge failures), Durant and Green (plus Boogie Cousins, do not forget) at the same time will be incredibly difficult to beat in a series of seven games. The Raptors would not be favored in a contest of this type if we got to happen. They should play the perfect basketball, which is not something that even the most adventurous writer would dare to write.
The fun part here is, of course, dreaming about it anyway. Here are all sorts of dumb clicks to capture the mood: to believe in your dreams, to roll for the stars, etc., but, like tired speakers, this does not make them less true. Maybe it's just a magical tale that we will tell today, forgetting tomorrow, the attenuating circumstances, even the reality of the next six months.
When the nurse went to the press room to answer the questions after the game, Tim Bontemps of ESPN asked with a joke about his already absent electric jacket. Probably, the nurse had taken to cool that the whole city had exhumed collectively along with him. When the nurse went to the podium in the small press room, the crowd was now scattered, bright lights and high music turned off, and the book almost closed, had a prepared answer.
The Raptors are the best NBA team, only for one night. That is the conclusion. Remember that, we appreciate, the end.