The first of two meetings between the National Basketball Association heavyweights didn't disappoint in the slightest, with the Warriors and Raptors exchanging blows and showcasing their deep rosters and top-flight individual talent for 48 minutes plus overtime as the Raptors took a thriller 131-128. Thursday night Kawhi looked every bit of the elite two-way player that Toronto traded for, and he will be the team's go-to guy as the stakes continue to get higher.
With Thursday night's win, the Raptors advanced to 14-1 on the season when leading after the first quarter, emphasizing the importance of starting games off strong. But it stoked belief in the idea that the Raptors could make their first NBA Finals and stand in the way of the Dubs repeating as champs. Rookie NBA head coach Nick Nurse patrolled Toronto's sideline in a daring iridescent electric-blue sports coat. The Warriors are quite the show right now and they still have to bring DeMarcus Cousins into the fold. Curry is expected to return Saturday at Detroit.
Warriors: Golden State has lost five straight on the road.
Toronto luminaries dotted the audience for the matchup between the National Basketball Association powerhouses, from Drake to Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock.
The Warriors game was the second in a tough stretch for the Raptors. The Warriors were also missing Draymond Green (toe injury). A mesmerizing bit of back-and-forth passing between Kyle Lowry and Leonard befuddled the Warriors and ended in a bucket. With 22 seconds left, and the Raptors clutching a three-point lead, Andre Iguodala had a clear path to the basket but was whistled for travelling, and Siakam iced the victory with three free throws in the dying seconds. Golden State coach Steve Kerr leaped to his feet in need of a timeout to reset his Warriors just five minutes into the game. Leonard had 13 points in the first nine minutes and blocked a Durant shot.
In what should've been Kawhi's night to bask in all on his own, some dude named Durant had other plans, matching Leonard's season-high and raising him a game-high in points while shoving an egregious 51 down the Raptors' throats and nearly single-handedly stealing one for the ailing Warriors, who were without Steph Curry and Draymond Green. That included a cold-blooded 32-foot three-point dagger to close the quarter that flipped a comfy Raps lead into an uneasy eight-point one. Klay Thompson had 23.