The Toronto Raptors are just one victory away from winning the NBA Finals after beating the Golden State Warriors.
The Raptors won Game 4 105-92 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., Friday night.
Kawhi Leonard led scoring for the Raptors and got 36 points. Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam got 20 and 19 points, respectively.
In the first two quarters, both teams struggled to sink three-pointers. The Raptors had an 11.8 three-point shooting percentage and the Warriors had a 15.4 percentage. However, both teams dramatically increased their efficiency.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Raptors had a solid run to get a scoring lead, which began when Leonard sunk two three-pointers back-to-back.
“Kawhi’s two big threes really, I thought, changed the whole feel of everybody,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse told reporters after the game.
“We played really tough tonight. We were taking a lot of punches early and we just kept standing in there and playing, and then we were able to exert our will in the second half.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said coming out of half time, that was turning point for the game.
“[The Raptors] took it to us right from the beginning of the quarter … and they turned up their defence,” he said.
“They just got on a run and we just sort of lost that defensive tenacity we had in the first half.”
The Warriors had the lead all throughout the first half, ending the second quarter ahead 46-42.
Klay Thompson, who sat out the previous game due to a hamstring injury, returned to the active roster and scored 28 points.
Despite having a career playoff high of 47 points in Game 3, Stephen Curry scored 27 points Friday night.
Fred VanVleet had to leave Game 4 during the fourth quarter after taking an accidental head shot, cutting him just under his right eye. He received multiple stitches and returned to the bench. VanVleet also lost a tooth.
When asked about the Raptors fans in Oracle Arena who could be heard loudly chanting in favour of team, Nurse said it’s something they see throughout the regular season. He called the Raptors “Canada’s team” and said he was “a little” surprised by all the fans present in Oakland.
“I don’t think it’s that easy to get tickets to these games, so our fans are working extra hard and being extra vocal — and we appreciate that,” Nurse said.
Looking ahead to the next game in the series, Stephen Curry said the Warriors have been in a similar situation in the past and reiterated the series isn’t over yet.
“It’s not a good feeling right now, obviously … we’ve been on both sides of it,” he said.
“For us it’s an opportunity to just flip this whole series on its head and you’ve got to do it one game at a time. It sounds cliche, and for us that’s literally the only way we’re going to get back in this series.”
Lowry exhibited a similar sentiment. He said the Raptors’ work isn’t finished.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” he said.
“We won three games. It’s the first of four, we understand that. They’re the defending champs, and they’re not going to go out easy.”
Toronto leads the Finals series 3-1. Game 5 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Monday in Toronto.
More to come.
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