Toronto Raptors: 3 keys to Game 4 of the NBA Finals

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

3. Avoid the massive run from Golden State

Sometimes things are etched in stone and there’s nothing you can do about it. Death and taxes are the only guarantees in life, but you can add the tidal wave of a Golden State Warriors third-quarter run to the list.

It’s one of the most predictable yet bewildering things in sports over the last decade. They comfortably get down double-digits and turn it on for about five minutes and your 12 point lead is now a 10 point deficit.

This happened in Game 2, as the Warriors started the second half on an 18-0 run and won the third quarter 34-21 and the Raptors couldn’t come all the way back. In Game 3, the Raptors won the third quarter 36-31 and pushed their eight-point halftime lead to 13 heading into the final frame.

These runs are predicated on the Warriors locking in defensively and getting out in transition for open threes. Opponents scramble to get back or gaping driving lanes open as defenders jump out to defend the 3-point line.

Toronto has done a great job of dictating pace all season, especially getting back in transition by limiting the Warriors to only 15.7 fastbreak points during the NBA Finals. Having that balance to send a pair of players to attack the offensive glass while dropping three players on defense has been the perfect recipe to stop the Warriors transition attack.

If Toronto can weather that storm that is bound to arrive at Oracle Arena in Game 4, it stands a great chance of beating the Warriors. The run may happen at the start of the game with Klay Thompson back and their backs against the wall, but avoiding it is the best way to keep control of the game. The Raptors are 2-for-3 in terms of withstanding the third quarter run this series, and it remains a key in Game 4 and the series moving forward.