OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry delivered a man-size performance in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night. It was not nearly enough to save the short-handed Warriors.
Despite a playoff career-high 47 points from Curry, the Warriors came away with a 123-109 loss to the Toronto Raptors before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena. The Raptors took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Playing without two starters, with Klay Thompson (left hamstring strain) joining Kevin Durant (right calf strain) on the sideline, and one rotation player out for the series, Kevon Looney (non-displaced rib cartilage fracture), the Warriors trailed from tip to buzzer.
While Curry shot 14 of 31 (45.2 percent) from the field, his teammates were 22 of 60 (36.7). The Raptors feasted on offense, shooting 52.4 percent from the field. All five starters in double figures, led by Kawhi Leonard’s 30 points.
Here are three takeaways from a game that was more crucial for Toronto than for Golden State:
Lineup No. 10
From the moment it was announced that Thompson would not play, it was evident the Warriors would be defensively compromised and might need to go on a scavenger hunt to find scoring.
The Warriors trotted out their 10th lineup of the postseason: Shaun Livingston and Curry at guard, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green at forward, and DeMarcus Cousins at center. The 10 lineups are an NBA record, according to the statistics folks at Elias.
It went about as well as could be reasonably expected. The offense was a mess, and the defense was even worse. The Raptors ripped the nets at 44.7 percent from beyond the arc, with Danny Green and Kyle Lowry combining to shoot 11 of 19.
Though the Warriors’ effort was valiant, their execution wasn’t nearly good enough to overcome the roster inadequacies.
Rough night for Boogie
After DeMarcus Cousins played so well in Game 2 on Sunday in Toronto, the expectations of his performance understandably went up. Perhaps he was ready to fill some of the scoring void left by the absences of Durant and Thompson.
Instead, Cousins looked more as he did in Game 1, like someone coming off a six-week absence because of a torn quadriceps muscle.
The big center played 19 minutes –- nine fewer than he did in Game 2 -- and totaled four points (on 1-of-7 shooting), three rebounds, two assists, one steals and, ouch, three turnovers. He was minus-14.
Maybe it was unfair to think Cousins could post back-to-back strong games so soon. He never found much rhythm at either end.
[RELATED: Refs steal show in first half of Game 3]
Night of the Curious Whistles
The officiating crew -- crew chief Marc Davis, David Guthrie and Kane Fitzgerald -- was in over its head, and it didn’t take long to realize that. They called several nonexistent fouls, and they went both ways.
The refs missed a clear goaltend (committed by Serge Ibaka) on a Cousins layup. They called a charge on Kawhi Leonard when it actually was a block on Draymond Green. They missed Curry palming before railing a triple. There was a questionable charge on Danny Green. They whistled up Quinn Cook once for, it appears, being Quinn Cook.
The upside is, I suppose, that the calls were equally bad for both teams. Nobody was pleased with this crew, which the members might take as a compliment.
To be clear, the refs did not dictate the outcome of the game. The right team won. But too many calls were not up to the standards that should be in play in an NBA Finals game.