Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 114-110 Game 6 loss to Raptors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 114-110 Game 6 loss to Raptors

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OAKLAND -- Oracle Arena's grand finale was supposed to end on a high note. 

The Toronto Raptors made sure that wasn't the case, beating the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, securing the first championship north of the border in NBA History. 

Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam combined for 74 points as the Raptors celebrated on the Warriors floor for the final basketball game ever at Oracle Arena. 

In the process, Toronto overcame a battered Warriors team missing Kevin Durant, sending the former champs into what promises to be an entertaining offseason. 

Here are the takeaways from Game 6. 

Toronto's Big 3 arrives 

Kyle Lowry's postseason performance has been much maligned throughout his career. On Thursday, he reversed that narrative, finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists. 

Lowry had help, as Kawhi Leonard poured in 22 points of his own, adding six rebounds and three assists. Meanwhile, Pascal Siakam replicated his Game 1 performance, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. 

For much of the series, the Raptors have relied heavily on their starting lineup, putting immense pressure on Siakam, Lowry and Leonard. With a championship on the line, the trio came through.

Klay Day

Klay Thompson's past performances in Game 6's are well documented and the sharpshooter added to that lore Thursday, scoring 30 points, including four 3-pointers. 

Thompson got going early, scoring 18 points in the first half, keeping Golden State in a game they were severely outmanned. 
 
Thursday's performance ended prematurely when Thompson went down with a left knee injury. After getting carried off the court, he returned to the game minutes later to shoot free throws, keeping his eligibility intact. However, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game and left the arena on crutches. 

Draymond does it all

Long considered the "heartbeat" of the Warriors, Green usually provides a gauge on how Golden State will perform on a nightly basis. In Game 6, he did just that, finishing with 11 points, 19 rebounds and 13 assists, but nine turnovers, including a timeout called in the final seconds when the Warriors had none, sealing the outcome.

After a rough regular season, Green returned to his all-star form in the postseason, averaging nearly a triple-double. 

In Game 6, he guarded Leonard, initiated the offense and provided Golden State's edge for most of the night.

Why this ESPN analyst thinks Warriors could be 'terrifying' next year

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Why this ESPN analyst thinks Warriors could be 'terrifying' next year

The Warriors will enter the 2019-20 NBA season in unfamiliar territory.

For one, they won't enter the season as title favorites for the first time since lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2015 after significant roster turnover headlined by Kevin Durant's departure in free agency. For another, they will begin the campaign without star guard Klay Thompson in the opening-night lineup for the first time since 2010 as he recovers from a torn ACL. 

But that isn't enough to write off Golden State as an NBA title contender, according to ESPN's Kirk Goldsberry. 

"I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd be all over this bet," Goldsberry wrote in a Friday column, referring to the Warriors opening the season as +1,400 championship favorites according to Caesar's Palace. "Why? Call me crazy, but if Klay Thompson returns to action by March or April, and the Warriors are in the playoffs, they're terrifying."

Placing them in his third tier of championship contenders, Goldsberry noted that the Warriors' experience could give them an edge over other title contenders. He also proposed that sign-and-trade acquisition D'Angelo Russell could "take another leap" under head coach Steve Kerr. Russell, who was an All-Star last season, doesn't have the same defensive upside as Thompson, but gives Golden State another credible scoring threat while one half of the Splash Brothers sits on the sidelines. 

[RELATED: Why Mychal Thompson has MVP expectations for Steph]

That defensive drop-off is what concerns Goldsberry the most, especially with Thompson set to miss so much of the season while Durant and Andre Iguodala no longer are playing in the Bay. The Warriors finished outside of the top 10 in defensive rating in each of the last two seasons despite the presence of all three players on the roster. As NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann observed earlier this week, those absences leave the Warriors with a lot of question marks on the defensive end of the court. 

The best-case scenarios for the Warriors next season involve a lot of "ifs." If Russell can effectively fill in for Thompson and if Thompson can return healthy and if the Warriors figure out their defense, then Golden State could be a force in the postseason. The Warriors will have 82 games to figure it all out, but they are still a team few would want to face if and when they do. 

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

The Warriors' roster turnover this summer has been well-documented, but Mychal Thompson things it will bring out the best in Steph Curry next season.

Curry will have to adjust to life without Kevin Durant next season, after the star signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. The two-time MVP also will miss Klay Thompson -- Mychal's son -- for much of the campaign as the Splash Brother recovers from a torn ACL. Because of that, the elder Thompson thinks Curry has the potential for a record-breaking season in 2019-20.

"Now, they're not going to be as good as they were last year -- and by the way, I predict Steph is going to have 500 3s this year without having to share the ball that much back in the backcourt with Klay," Mychal said Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "So he's going to come back to his MVP form we saw two years ago."

Curry set the NBA's single-season record with 402 made 3-pointers en route to the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2015-16. He did so leading a historic Warriors team that went 73-9, and Klay finished second on Golden State that season with 276 made 3-pointers. 

Klay made 241 -- and attempted 599 -- triples last year, while Curry made 354 and attempted 810. Assuming Thompson returns after the All-Star break, there could be enough touches for Curry to shatter his own record. However, summer acquisition D'Angelo Russell made just seven fewer 3-pointers than Thompson last season. He probably will take fewer shots as the No. 2 option behind Curry to start the season, but Russell's presence probably lowers Curry's record-setting ceiling. 

[RELATED: Steph comments on learning about KD's decision on plane]

Curry unquestionably will have to carry a bigger load for as long as Klay's out next season. But when his son returns, Mychal thinks the Warriors will find themselves on the same level as other Western Conference contenders. 

"[Draymond Green] is motivated to have a great year because his contract year is coming up," the elder Thompson continued.  "So I think [Curry and Green] -- and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell and the other role players that they've signed -- I think they'll be right in the mix. Somewhere between a five [or] six seed until Klay comes back 100 percent, and then they'll be ready to make their move."