1. All role players maintain aggressiveness
Kyle Lowry said he needed to be more aggressive in Game 3 if that’s what it took for the Raptors to win the game, and it wasn’t just him that took those words to heart. Lowry did his part in being more assertive, going 8-for-16 from the field and 5-for-9 from deep for 23 points and also dished out nine assists on the night.
Lowry was awesome on both ends of the floor and it was the first time he wasn’t in foul trouble for the whole game, but his teammates took the aggressive approach as well. All five members of the Raptors starting-five attempted at least 10 shots and scored at least 17 points.
Danny Green turned into the 2013 version that set the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers in a series by shooting 6-for-10 from deep. Marc Gasol reasserted himself and was ultra-aggressive from the paint in first quarter, finishing the game 6-for-11 from the field with 17 points. Pascal Siakam scored another 18 points on 8-for-16 shooting, and the steady Kawhi train chugged along with 30 points.
Fred VanVleet added 11 points off the bench and Serge Ibaka contributed a measly six points off the bench but protected the paint immensely with six blocks. When all non-Kawhi Raptors are taking their shots and moving the ball on offense — they had 30 assists on 43 field goals made in Game 3 — this team is extremely difficult to guard.
Kawhi is the centerpiece. He is the guy you turn to when your team is struggling to get a shot in the halfcourt and needs somebody to get a shot off. But this team is at it’s best when everybody is getting touches and taking their shots.
Golden State isn’t as strong defensively as its been in year’s past, and the constant driving and kicking Toronto is doing keeps Golden State scrambling which creates mismatches that Toronto zeroes in on to constantly find good shots.
This democratic ball movement system is what Nick Nurse envisioned for this team. It’s just we’ve seen Kawhi carry them with heavy isolation that people tended to forget how much the ball can fly around and how each player fits like a puzzle piece in this roster.
This always makes life easier for Kawhi, who can pick his spots and not be relied on for 35+ minutes to be the offensive creator, and makes them almost unguardable offensively with so many options.