2. Warriors defense shuts down Toronto
Despite building up a lead as high as 11 in Game 4, Golden State allowed the Raptors whatever they wanted in the second half, including a 37-point third quarter. This allowed Toronto to swing the momentum in its favor, resulting in a 13-point victory.
Whatever their offense may have brought, the Dubs knew they’d have to defend at a high level in front of what was sure to be a raucous crowd at Scotiabank Arena. Lock in they did, holding Toronto to 44.7 percent shooting from the field with an 8-for-25 mark from downtown.
Those eight 3-point makes were less than the Raptors had in the second half of Game 4 alone. After slicing up Golden State’s defense for 36 points on 11-of-22 shooting the previous game, Kawhi Leonard hit only nine of his 24 shots from the field and two of his seven looks from beyond the arc.
Through all his struggles, Leonard still had the ball in his hands in the final seconds with the chance to give Toronto the championship it’s so desperately coveted. Rather than bank on the abilities of All-Defensive Team member Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala was sent to take the ball out of Kawhi’s hands. The proper rotations were made on the next two passes, leading to a deflected 3-point look by Kyle Lowry from Draymond Green and a victory for Golden State.
Without much consistency at the offensive end, the Warriors won’t know the type of contributions will arise at that end from game to game. That’s no excuse to be lacking defensively, however, where guys like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston can disrupt the opposition with their length and timing.
Golden State will be aided in Game 6 by its home fans, which always increases the level of effort put forth. If a Game 7 is in the cards, the Warriors will need to replicate more of what they did to keep their season alive, independent of how their shots may be falling.