No, this is not going to be some sappy, emotional self-reflection I had after game two. For those of you who are not aware, a running diary is someone recording all of their thoughts and evaluations while watching the game live. Another translation: this is basically what my Twitter feed would have been throughout the night if I was more popular. This way, you can all see how my thoughts about the game progressed throughout the night. Not much else to say, so let’s get into it!
- 8:12 – ABC airs a pre-game clip of Nick Nurse telling his team to play fast. I feel like giving away coaching strategies to viewers, and potentially the opponents through word of mouth, shouldn’t be allowed.
- 8:13 – It’s unveiled that Boogie will start. Mr. Kerr I am confused.
- 8:18 – Four minutes in and Boogie already has two fouls. I feel vindicated at the moment. Also, Klay has hit two incredible fading shots already. Maybe an early sign of a big game for him?
- 8:19 – Draymond needs to stop trying to make layups over Kawhi.
- 8:21 – Check that. Make it nine points for Klay in five minutes, and all of Canada is officially terrified.
- 8:27 – Kyle Lowry takes his 16th charge of the playoffs. I don’t know whether I should be impressed or throw a chair at the TV.
- 8:34 – Dang. I didn’t know Siakam could get up like that. Even with his struggles over the last month I’d still bet on him being an all star for each of the next five years.
- 8:34 – I pity Steph right now. His teammates on the court are McKinnie, Draymond, Livingston, and Looney. When you’re relying on McKinnie as the key floor spacer to open up shots for Steph you have serious problems.
- 8:46 – Raptors up one at the end of the first quarter. Feels like the Warriors know they have no chance to win this series if Durant doesn’t play, so they’re trying to muck up the game, get to the foul line, and steal one in Toronto. Even weirder, I think it’s going to work. Klay and Draymond are already off to great starts and Steph has always been one of the scariest second half players in league history. I also get the feeling the Raptors are going to be off from three all game. I saw them struggle with the same should-be-easy wide open shots against the Sixers, and it’s what allowed for Philly to win one or two games too many in that series.
- 8:55 – Can we agree that Danny Green should be fined 1,000 dollars every time he dribbles. I swear it never ends well.
- 8:59 – I want to hold Fred VanVleet’s son so I can gain the powers he blessed his Dad with.
- 9:01 – Four minutes into the quarter and the Warriors have only scored two points off a Klay fadeaway. Considering what is transpiring right now, would a Toronto have swept Portland so badly that it would have been classified as physical assault on live television.
- 9:04 – Boogie scores seven in a row to prove me wrong, but is immediately hit with a terrible call on a Lowry flop to give him his third foul. Cruel.
- 9:13 – I honestly forgot that Gasol was on the court until he took Iggy out with that screen. Strange.
- 9:15 – Draymond’s exuberant fist pump raises the chances of him getting a technical by 80%.
- 9:24 – Some Halftime Thoughts
- I hate hot takes and everybody’s overreactions to the Kevin Durant situation, but this first really has convinced me that the Raptors do win in six or seven if he doesn’t return. Golden State’s offense can’t succeed against a defense as good as Toronto’s without a tall, shot creator like Durant.
- It’s another testimony to Steph’s legacy that he can miss his first six shots and look visibly ill for almost the whole half, then hit four shots in a row and finish with 16 points and a positive plus-minus. Unbelievable.
- I’m very surprised that we haven’t seen any of OG Anunoby yet. Sports nerds like me were thrilled when we heard that he was active for tonight.
- Jacob Evans was subbed in before Andrew Bogut. Even if it was only for the last four seconds of the first half, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coach insult a beloved veteran so badly (Possible Exception–whatever PJ Carlesimo said to Latrell Sprewell before he attempted to strangle poor PJ).
- I think Klay and Steph will keep the Dubs in the game but this feels like another Toronto win and an unprecedented 2-0 deficit for the Warriors. It’s clear that Toronto is too good to let Golden State get away with playing the corpses that they call bench players. It’s all setting up for a dramatic, “KD returns in game three and helps the Warriors pull off an all time great finals comeback to cement their dynasty,” series. That or Toronto wins in five and we all suffer online Canadian arrogance for a year.
- 9:38 – Siakam guarding Klay to start the second half. “That’s pretty interesting” – Russell Westbrook voice.
- 9:39 – Dray on Lowry and Iggy on Siakam. Even more interesting.
- 9:40 – 61-59 Dubs with ten minutes left in the third. Please forgive me Warriors. That was two of the most impressive minutes I’ve ever seen from a team. I’m legitimately afraid I might be struck by lightning the next time I disrespect them.
- 9:47 – Does Gasol understand just how illegal and dangerous his screens are? He’s been called for three tonight and it could’ve been more. He’s had an atrocious game and it’s why Toronto is now down nine and in serious trouble.
- 9:55 – This looks like a bad pick up game at your local gym. A ton of sloppy throw ahead passes, missed thres, and three on fours in the half court as guys refuse to keep running.
- 9:56 – Bogut sighting!!!
- 9:58 – I hate these all gold logos that ABC is using for the graphics. Both the Warriors and Raptors have great colors already. Just leave it that way.
- 10:01 – It’s remarkable that Kawhi has been this good even though he looks more stiff than the Tin Man when he rises for pull up jumpers.
- 10:04 – That lob from Draymond to Bogut was so beautiful I almost cried (Don’t judge me).
- 10:05 – I could watch that Norman Powell hook shot on repeat all day.
- 10:13 – Underlying problem for the Warriors that no one is talking about: Iguodala has basically forgotten how to shoot since game six in Houston.
- 10:14 – WHAT JUST HAPPENED? QUINN COOK HAS BECOME FIRE INCARNATE FROM THE THREE POINT LINE, STEPH RAN ONTO THE COURT TO CELEBRATE WHILE GAME ACTION WAS STILL GOING ON, AND KLAY MIGHT HAVE JUST SERIOUSLY INJURED HIMSELF!!!!! I NEED HELP!
- 10:20 – Even though he’s had a wretched year, I see why Kerr still has faith in Shaun Livingston.
- 10:21 – What’s Kawhi’s official bench press, because he basically lifted Draymond and Bogut off the court on that and one.
- 10:23 – Bogut has better than Gasol tonight. You can quote me on that.
- 10:29 – Kawhi has had the quietest 31 point game that I’ve ever seen to this point.
- 10:33 – Time can’t move fast enough for the Warriors. They’re running out of guys and are just dying to get back home with a tied series.
- 10:34 – There’s a difference between smart, physical defense and dumb, hack-happy defense. Lowry’s sixth foul was a perfect example of the latter.
- 10:37 – I might have to handwrite an apology letter to Boogie Cousins.
- 10:40 – That’s a really shady technical on Curry. I swear I’ve seen players do that at least 100 times this season. Can’t let something like that decide an NBA Finals game.
- 10:47 – AND HIS NAME IS ANDRE IGUODALA!!!!!
- 10:47 – Side note: Why in the world did the Raptors not foul Draymond the moment he caught the ball? Why, just why? These things feel inexplicable but this is somehow not the first boneheaded decision regarding fouls and clock management we’ve seen this post-season (San Antonio I’m looking at you).
Warriors 109, Raptors 104. I guarantee there will be a ton of talking heads trying to play devil’s advocate the next few days, suggesting that game two was really a loss for the Warriors because they might have lost Klay and Looney for the rest of the series, and the Raptors probably won’t shoot that poorly again. That’s a poor analysis. You can almost feel Toronto’s disgust with the fact that they let a 2-0 series lead slip right through their fingertips.
That was a classic, “That’s why were the Champs,” performance by the Warriors, as they slammed the breaks on a three week euphoria for the Raptors. Going forward, the Warriors have two viable options. The preferable one is obviously to have KD return with a vendetta on the league and obliterate Toronto with mid range isos. The second and more likely choice is to keep playing a high-energy game based on full effort defensive rotations and making extra passes, trusting that your championship stature will prevail in a long series.
The Raptors on the other hand have some things to address. They have eight guys and half of them were garbage tonight. Specifically, the four that were garbage were the starters not named Kawhi Leonard. You can read above how much I’ve already slandered Gasol in this piece. Siakam was okay but has to be better. Lowry has to create more open threes for himself. Danny Green’s lack of mobility and ball handling has been exposed all playoffs long, and he’s rightfully lost a good chunk of minutes to VanVleet. The biggest change I think Toronto should make is to bring back OG. I think his length and switchability makes the Raptors even more physically imposing to a crippled Golden State. I’d be as bold to start him in place of Gasol and try to attack the Warriors with my own small-ball lineup of death if I’m Nick Nurse. But then again, I’m not Nick Nurse and it is a risk to start the guy who just had an appendectomy in April.
Overall, I still feel like my original Warriors in seven pick is going to come to fruition. Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree.