Game 2 Stinger

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Toronto Raptors Fail to Take Advantage Late, Fall in Game 2 to Warriors

The Toronto Raptors were given every opportunity to come back and win Game 2.

Missed three-pointers, poor offensive execution, and a lack of focus spelled the end for the Raptors in a game that slipped away in the second half. If you play with fire long enough, it’ll burn you and the final gut punch came in the final seconds of fourth quarter when Andre Iguodala, who hobbled into the locker room at halftime, hitting the clincher.

“(Iguodala) has hit a lot of big shots in the Finals before, so he was unfazed,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following the win.

In a game that started off very much like Game 1, the Raptors were able to play through what was a very tough whistle on Sunday evening. As the foul calls continued to mount, the Raptors erupted in the second quarter, pushing their lead to 12, being a surge by Fred VanVleet. While simultaneously holding the Warriors to below 40-percent shooting for most of the first half, the Warriors finally woke up to close out the quarter on a big run.

 

“We cut the lead to five and could kind of breathe at halftime,” Kerr said. “I think our guys felt renewed life at that point.”

The Raptors lead shrunk to five heading into the half and as the third quarter kicked off, things turned upside down for the home team.

The Warriors came out firing on all cylinders, putting on a clinic on both sides of the ball, going on an 18-0 run. Sparked by DeMarcus Cousins and Draymond Green, the Warriors dissected the Raptors defense with their pick-n-roll game, creating open shots for shooters and easy finishes at the bucket. Not to be outdone, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson came up big, finishing with a combined 48 points.

As the series turns into a best-of-five, the Warriors have now won all but two quarters in this series, yet head home with a road win in their pocket.

On the Raptors end, Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points while grabbing 14 boards, but shot an abysmal 2-for-9 from long range. Kyle Lowry had a rough night, but was unable to truly get himself going to do playing in constant foul trouble up until fouling out mid-way through the final frame.

Despite the Warriors big third-quarter surge, the Raptors defense kept them in the game for most of the second half and it was their inability to hit clean looks that was the icing on the cake. The Raptors shot 11-for-38 from long range, good for 29-percent and turned the ball over 15 times.

As the series shifts to California, the Raptors have proven time and time again to being one of the more resilient teams the league has seen in quite some time. There is no question that the Raptors are able to replicate the Warriors efforts and steal a game on the road, especially with Kevin Durant’s return date remaining uncertain. That being said, The Oracle, much like the Scotiabank Arena, is one of the more difficult places to play in for a visiting team in the entire NBA.

A lot will need to be cleaned up.

The Raptors must protect the pick-n-roll game, they must continue to be physical with The Splash Brothers on the defensive end, and of course, they must hit their open shots. Down the stretch, when Thompson went down due to hamstring tightness and the Raptors defense locked in, the Raptors were unable to capitalize on countless clean looks and it came back to bite them in the form of a 109-104 loss.

Champions don’t go down without a battle and champions rise up against adversity. It was always going to be a war and it is now time for the Raptors to respond on enemy territory.

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