Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 105-92 Game 4 loss to Raptors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 105-92 Game 4 loss to Raptors

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OAKLAND -- During their five-year run, the Warriors have been a safe bet to provide a good game when their backs are against the wall.

That did not happen Friday night in Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals, as the Warriors lost 105-92 to the Toronto Raptors and now find themselves down three games to one in the best-of-seven series. 

In what could be the final game at Oracle Arena, the Warriors laid an egg, squandering an 11-point first-half lead as Kawhi Leonard dominated throughout. 

Since 2015, the Warriors have stood high above the NBA mountaintop with little opposition. Now, facing a potential closeout game Monday night in Toronto, that reign could come to an end.

Here are the immediate takeaways from Game 4.

Third quarter flipped the game

After trailing for much of the contest, the Raptors outscored the Warriors 37-21 in the third quarter. Leonard scored 17 of his game-high 36 points in the frame, taking the life out of the two-time defending champs on their home floor. More disturbing is that Golden State was demolished in a quarter it historically has owned.

With the world watching, the Warriors might have watched their season slip away in the third quarter.

Kawhi Not

For much of the postseason, the Raptors' success has been directly tied to Leonard. On Friday, he delivered again, finishing with 36 points, 12 rebounds and two assists.

With Kevin Durant still out for the Warriors because of a strained right calf, Leonard has been the best player in this year's playoffs, averaging 30.9 points, 4.0 assists and 9.0 rebounds in 21 games.

In his first season in Toronto, Leonard has taken the Raptors to heights not seen in Canadian basketball. A repeat performance in Game 5 could clinch the Raptors' first NBA title.

Boogie struggles

In a game in which the Warriors needed a post presence, DeMarcus Cousins did not provide the required performance, finishing with just six points. missed several defensive assignments, forcing Warriors coach Steve Kerr instead to opt for Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney.

It's hard not to feel for Cousins, who signed with the Warriors for this moment, only to have his season derailed by injury. Two months ago -- in just his second career playoff game -- he tore his right quad muscle before working his way back into the lineup for the Finals.

With the series shifting back to Canada, a change might need to be made in Golden State's lineup.

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

It's wild how things can change so quickly in such a short amount of time.

In late September -- just before the Warriors opened training camp -- Draymond Green had lofty expectations for the 2019-20 season.

"I'm going back to the way I was pre-KD (Kevin Durant), and that's exciting to me," he told Sam Alipour of ESPN. "I had to give up shots to make sure Kevin gets his touches, and I don't regret that. It got me a couple of championships.

"But as a competitor, as someone who's still in his prime, who's been in the gym all summer trying to improve my game, it's exciting to know that I can go back to playing the way that I was playing before.

"You haven't seen the best of me. I'm definitely not at my peak. I have so much room to grow, new heights that I can reach -- like becoming a 40 percent 3-point shooter. That'd be amazing, right?

"My shooting dropped off the last couple of seasons, but it's tough when you're taking only two or three 3s a game. My percentages were a lot higher when I took more."

Well, fast forward six weeks later and Draymond finds himself in unchartered territory as the Warriors (2-10) have the worst record in the NBA.

Plain and simple, he doesn't look like himself so far. And not only is he playing without Klay Thompson, but Steph Curry won't be taking the floor for several more months, and Kevon Looney remains out indefinitely.

As a result, the Warriors predominantly have become a pick-and-roll team, as Draymond finds himself watching D'Angelo Russell run the show.

"I’ve always been a playmaker. I don't really have the ball much," the three-time All-Star told reporters Monday night after Golden State's loss to the Jazz.

"This is going to allow him to play off the ball and space out and work on his shot," coach Steve Kerr told the media Tuesday. "I'm going to encourage that. He can get that confidence back."

Let's take a look at Draymond's 3-point shooting over the years:
-2015-16 = 38.8 percent on 3.2 attempts
-2016-17 = 30.8 percent on 3.5 attempts
-2017-18 = 30.1 percent on 3.7 attempts
-2018-19 = 28.5 percent on 2.5 attempts

So Draymond's point about fewer attempts negatively impacting his percentage doesn't really hold up because he shot more triples in the first two seasons with KD than he did during his career-year in 2015-16.

But in his defense, Draymond making those shots didn't matter as much with KD onboard because the Warriors probably were going to win anyways.

[RELATEDHow much one bettor makes if Warriors win 2020 NBA Finals]

That no longer is the case. And even if Draymond were to go 8-for-10 from deep this season, the Dubs still could lose that game.

But big picture, the two-time All-NBA selection absolutely should use this season to regain his consistency from beyond the arc (he went 2-for-4 on Wednesday against the Lakers). As it pertains to that 40 percent goal, the mindset he had in late September should not change.

Given the circumstances, that won't be easy on a nightly basis.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Bettor to make $1M if Warriors turn season around, win 2020 NBA Finals

Bettor to make $1M if Warriors turn season around, win 2020 NBA Finals

The Warriors (2-10) own the worst record in the NBA.

Klay Thompson probably isn't going to suit up at all this season, and Steph Curry might not take the floor again until March.

But that didn't stop a certain someone from essentially lighting $1,000 on fire:

Why didn't this person wire the $1,000 to my bank account? Daycare for a 10-month old isn't cheap.

There literally are at least 1,000 ways that the $1,000 could have been better utilized.

Perhaps it was this guy who placed the bet:

[RELATEDWhy LeBron didn't win his rivalry with Warriors in any way]

Or maybe the bettor thought the wager was on the Warriors landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Got to read the fine print on those betting slips!

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

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