What we’re talking about: Warriors making quick work of Blazers
Even with a change of venue, a fired-up fan base and another double-digit lead in the first half, the Golden State Warriors wound up doing what they always seem to do this time of year - find a way to win.
The absence of Kevin Durant has been a non-factor. In fact, one could argue not having the former league MVP has brought out the best in the rest of the Warriors who seemed to have found that hunger that champions often struggle with discovering after having won at the highest of levels over and over again. Steph Curry has been a killer shot-maker in this series, but the MVP has been Draymond Green. It was his aggressiveness during the early stages of Game 3 that kept Golden State in the game before finishing with a triple-double of 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He showed tremendous leadership both in his play and his words, frequently offering words of encouragement to his younger teammates when they made mistakes. This is the version of Golden State teams fear: the one that’s hungry and when challenged, plays as close to their best brand of basketball which as the Blazers are finding out now, makes them damn near impossible to beat.
What we’ll be watching: Raptors must-win mode now
This is it. The Toronto Raptors’ amazing season comes down to this game. Facing a 2-0 series deficit, there is no way they can lose tonight and bounce back from a 3-0 series deficit and beat the Bucks. Milwaukee has won with Giannis Antetokounmpo dominating as well as with his teammates carrying the load towards victory. Kawhi Leonard has been the best individual talent in the playoffs from beginning to where things stand now. But his team’s 2-0 series hole is a reminder that being great in the playoffs doesn’t necessarily catapult you to victory unless your success becomes contagious. While Leonard may be the best player, no one has elevated the play of those around them more than Antetokounmpo. His scoring is lethal, obviously. But when he’s finding guys in their sweet spots the way we saw in the Boston series and now against Toronto? He becomes an unstoppable force that has the Raptors on the ropes who will continue to get big-time production from Leonard.
But will anyone else step up?
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