The Toronto Raptors have won Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, taking the lead in the series.
With a 123-109 win at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., the team dominated throughout the game. At one point, the Raptors had a 17-point lead over the Warriors.
Kawhi Leonard led the team with 30 points and Kyle Lowry had 23 points. Pascal Siakam had 18 points and Marc Gasol had 17.
When asked what they did differently in Wednesday’s game versus Game 2, Lowry said the team focused on keeping the pace up.
“(We were) trying to get the ball out quick and getting stops, and communication — just kept playing,” he told reporters in a post-game news conference Wednesday night.
“[The Warriors] can always make runs in the building, but we stayed level-handed and just continued to keep going and going and going and staying in the moment.”
However, it was Danny Green who had a break-out performance. He sunk six three-pointers, walking away with 18 points.
Green said he felt “comfortable” throughout the game and that the Raptors had a good rhythm and pace, praising Lowry, Siakam and Leonard.
“I love playing with [Lowry] so much. He’s a big reason why I get so many looks — him and Pascal. [Lowry] being the quarterback and Pascal being the wide receiver,” he told reporters.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said Green’s efforts were important to energizing the Raptors.
“When he kept it going, I think it was a huge confidence booster all around,” he said.
Nurse went on to contrast the strong Game 3 finish with Sunday’s disappointing loss.
“Our offence wasn’t very good in Game 2 and we knew that was hurting our defence as well,” he said.
“We tried to play with more pace up the court and we tried to play with more pace in the half court. I thought you saw a lot more cutting and passing — obviously 30 assists — you saw a lot more shots go in, that helps.”
For the Warriors, Stephen Curry had a strong showing. He led the Warriors with 47 points followed by Draymond Green with 17 points. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney all sat out Game 3 due to injuries.
Curry told reporters the Warriors could have been better defensively, especially in the first quarter, something he said needs to be corrected in Game 4.
“They played well the whole game. Every time we made a run or got the crowd into it, they made a tough three or there was a tough foul call and slowed the tempo down, or something went their way. It’s just how it goes sometimes,” he said.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game that he was proud of his team and hopes they’re “a little healthier” on Friday.
“[The Raptors] played really, really hard and gave it everything they had. [The Warriors] just ran into a better team tonight,” he said.
“Toronto played an excellent team and made big shots every time they needed to … They outplayed us. They deserved it.”
Kerr also reflected on Curry’s performance, calling it “incredible.”
“He does things that honestly I don’t think anybody has done before. The way he plays the game, the way he shoots it, the combination of his ball handling and shooting skills is incredible to watch,” he said.
Before Wednesday’s game, Raptors HQ editor-in-chief Daniel Reynolds told Global News it would be up to players like Lowry, Siakam and Gasol to step up and support Leonard in order to avoid a similar Game 2 loss.
“It starts with [Kyle Lowry]. He’s the heart of the team … Lowry has to sort of respond to the call here and come out with a strong, sound game,” he said, adding Siakam had to “get back to scoring more effectively” and Gasol need to take more open shots.
Game 4 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Friday in Oakland.
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