TORONTO – The first was the ambush. Toronto Raptors came to play. They hit nine of the first 11 shots, forced Golden State Warriors into two timeouts in the first nine minutes, and swarms all moving to the defensive end. In the largest test they had until the next biggest test they would have, the Raptors set a tone.
Of course, that was a plan. In the morning of most days of the game, the Toronto team of coaches holds a video session. They pass through tendencies, potential weaknesses, set their opponents as if they were running. Raptors often do not see Warrior – most of them just played defensive champions a dozen times. But Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are well acquainted with these Warriors, thanks to their time with San Antonio Spurs and playing Golden State in the playoffs of each of the last two seasons.
So when the Raptors gathered to watch the movie on Thursday, it was not the main coach Nick Nurse who spoke most. He was Leonard and Green.
"My ears opened," the nurse said. "They were very conversational, informative – they have experience against them."
One point that was emphasized: it's the Golden State – you have to be ready to play. And he started with Leonard, who in the early years hit a big turn over and then ran to the floor to block Kevin Duranta's midfield. The block fell to Kyle Lowry, who dropped 20 yards of bombs passing perfectly into the hands of sprint Pascal Siakam on the other end of the dunk.
Shortly afterwards, Leonard had re-produced the traffic, and finished fast making and leaving Lowry in flight.
"They did a really good job of throwing the first kick," said Andre Iguodala, the Golden State Advocate. "At home, on national television, they really got together – and they made some heavy footage."
There were 38-25, Raptors.
The second was an adrenaline dump. After the flat rhythm of the first one, there was little surprise.
Both teams were struggling to do everything in the early days. The photos were missed, the inexorable passages were turned, the travels were made. These things happen. But if you are Raptors, it is not the type of energy you want to play long against the team like the Golden State that is likely to explode for ten at any time.
"They are an excellent ball club club – a championship, they will be back, they will fight, they will not stop," Green said. "When things do not go our way, we have to find ways to get out of that fun, get out of that mood and keep the positive energy and make some winning games. The winning game turns the game."
What Lowry did halfway through a quarter, while the Golden State was trying to escape, was a winning game. Or play. He started off at the defensive end, where he managed to switch to Iguodal, who shot at a quick pause from three to one. He quickly turned in another way, hurrying straight to the Warriors basket, where he stopped and dropped into the perfect little buoy.
"Whether K-Lo is stolen on the pitch, Pascal has got a quick pause or dunk on the other end or a free throw line – they will change the pace of the game," Green said. "Even if you see bleeding, you are trying to stop bleeding with something. There are certain things we can do that anyone can help."
It was 67-58, Raptors.
Donnovan Bennett and JD Bunkis talk about everything that Toronto Raptors are delighting with fans within the NBA with news, analysis, and interviews.
One third belonged to Durant. The way he has played recently – averaging 41.7 points per game during the last three – is just a matter of time.
"He's hell of a player, man," Lowry said. "Really, really, really, really good."
Coming to the game, the nurse intend to send different views to Durant. It does not necessarily have to try to quit all the stars nine times. But because he thinks this is his way of playing.
"I think our philosophy will be ours," she said before the game. "We have good, young defenders. It takes some time and some tails against these guys to see how they can do it."
These guys & # 39; there will be any number of NBA Super stars as the season wears. Joel Embiid when Raptor will hold Philadelphia next week. Giannis Antetokounmpo when Milwaukee comes to town four days later. And, potentially, one of those two for anywhere from four to seven games comes round.
So, after Leonard spent the nine-minute shift in Durant's first quarter, OG Anunoby had to try to keep one of the most successful NBA players. And later, Siam did. No one had much luck.
After reaching only 20 in the first half, Durant went in full swapping, and he drifted 18 in the third at 7: 9. He wins from the midfield, tossed over the arch and drew free throws. The Raptors threw everything they had on him, but it was not enough. Durant won the last 13 points of his quarter, interrupted by & # 39; oh, come & # 39; on three points out of only half the court.
"I do not know what you can do," Siakam said. "It's making heavy recordings, it's a tough, heavy coverage, you just had to try the hardest and make it so hard, but big players will make good shots."
There were 96-88, Raptors.
The fourth was a huge opportunity. After Durant's boundary was incredibly third, he took the place on the bench for the start of the last quarter. On the other hand, the nurse allowed Leonard to launch the box with the other Raptor unit – the look she later tried. Toronto had its best player on the floor. The Golden State is not. Raptors should capitalize.
It was not. After Fred VanVleet took over the traffic early, Jonas Jerebko came out of the way and things came out of here. Just three minutes after Jerebko left unheard of for three, the nurse was forced to call the timeout. On the other hand, Anunoby was knocked open three before Klay Thompson found Kevon Looney with the lobe. Lead fell to four. Soon there will be two.
While Durant again checked halfway through a quarter, Golden State won a minute without him, 16-12. Leonard, on the floor for all of them, was held only in two free throws in that range.
"We are young and immature, we always have good leads and we can not easily handle them," Green said. "It's part of the breeding, it's part of maturity as a group, especially with so many young men, by calculating each other, revealing to us our identity."
But it always came to Duranta against Leonard. There was no other way. With just under an hour behind the game, the Raptors who drove three, Durant dropped to the floor. Leonard was all over him. He dropped Durant's drive. He followed Durant behind the arch. As Durant stopped the game, linking three, Leonard had one of his huge hands over the archer's head, forcing a long shot. But at such moments, Durant does not miss.
"He drove him to the corner, closed it completely, and somehow the guy squeezed the shot," the nurse said. "And he hit exactly in the middle."
It was a tied basketball game.
Overtime work was a test. Be honest – did you think Raptori would remove it? Did you have faith? Or have you seen it before? Have you seen the Raptor to catch a great lead, to get overtime, and to drop the game you would later say they should surely win?
"When the team gets overtime because of some heavy recordings or anything," said the nurse, "many times they will feel sorry for themselves and will not go out and play."
It was the center of discussion at the Raptors' club in moments before the overtime work began. They had to come out with energy. They had to trust each other. They had to believe in themselves.
"I was talking to guys," This is a good test character, "Green said. "Keep on trusting each other in offensive and defensive relations. Move the ball and find each other."
That's what Raptori did. They won four fast points on a couple of passes of heavy holdings, each of which became Assistant Lowry. The warriors tied him up and had the opportunity to take over the lead, but Leonard found the traffic and found Lowry in transition. He found a green choke. And Green's three showed the bottom of the net.
"I told them in the locker room – that I was proud of it," she said. "Get an emotional kick in the digestive tract, and take some deep breaths at the end of the game, and get back there and play the overtime they've done."
From there, there was a question of defense, possession, free throws and finishing. Wins over defensive champion. One who had undoubtedly earned it.
It was 131-128, Raptors.