TORONTO – The night billed as a potential NBA final preview is sure to last until Thursday.
Kawhi Leonard poured 37 points, the best as a Raptor, to bring Toronto to their seventh straight victory, a sudden defeat 131-128 from two defending champions NBA, Golden State.
Pascal Siakam, who did not miss a shot until the last minute of the third quarter, added 28 points for the Raptors who led the league (19-4). Serge Ibaka contributed 20, Danny Green 13, Jonas Valanciunas added 12, and Kyle Lowry finished with 10 points and 12 assists,
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Kevin Durant scored 51 points – all three were 40 points ahead – to lead the Golden State (15-8) squad to lose Steph Curry. Klay Thompson has 23.
The Raptors had lost eight straight to Golden State, but it was pre-Leonard, and now Toronto is the talk of the East. The fight asked Thompson to suggest that night was a potential preview of the NBA final in June.
Awaited night – a rare game that is broadcast nationally in the US, and regular Warriors regular season trips to Toronto – according to their promises. The Raptors advanced to 18 points, and to a large extent maintained a double-digit lead until Durant ignited it until the end of the third quarter.
Durant scored the last 13 Warriors points this quarter, including a three-pointer from the Raptors logo in the middle of the field on the bell that sliced Toronto towards 96-88, and made your final seat-of-your-seat frame.
Thompson closed the 9-0 Warriors run which drew visitors to within two points with eight minutes to play. But the Raptors clawed their way back and when Green drilled a three-pointer with 4:42 to play, it capped an 8-0 run that put Toronto back by 10, pushing an deafening roar from the Scotiabank Arena crowd which included Toronto Maple Coach Leafs Mike Babcock, Drake, and UFC featherweight champion, Max Holloway.
With just three points towards a regulatory crazy end, Lowry drilled a sensation, but Durant answered with his two, the second dagger which tied the game with 8.6 seconds to play and send it to overtime.
That night there were post-season rumors, and the fans stood for an additional period, erupting when Green dropped three with 2:07 to play to make Toronto rise three. With 22 seconds left, and the Raptors holding a three-point lead, Andre Iguodala had a clear path to the basket but whistled for the trip, and Siakam made a victory with three free throws in the final seconds.
Nick Nurse is of course dressed for the event. The Raptors coach wore a sparkling royal blue suit for Sager Strong night in honor of the late NBA reporter, Craig Sager, who is famous for his colorful clothes.
Leonard went into a perfect 6-for-6 game in the regular season and playoffs against Golden State since the 2014-15 season, averaging 20.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Curry, meanwhile, sits with the adductor tense (crotch). The NBA MVP has not been played twice since November 8, but is expected to return Saturday in Detroit. The Warriors also lost Draymond Green (toe injury).
The Raptors will get another chance at Golden State soon – the Warriors will host Toronto on December 12.
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While the Raptors' pre-game spells for Golden State were "just another game," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said it wasn't an ordinary night.
"It feels different to us when we know we play one of the best teams in the league. Media coverage that we usually use, fans outside the hotel," Kerr said. "(But) we know who we are playing and who we will see later and tonight is definitely one of those games."
Raptors will not be missed in the first quarter, with Leonard, Siakam and Ibaka filming a 12-to-12 combination to start, and Toronto shot 72 percent in the frame. The Raptors rose by 18 and led 38-25 to end the quarter.
The Warriors pulled in eight points with 21-10 in the second half, and the Raptors went into the break until 67-58.
The Warriors game is the second in a difficult stretch for Raptors. Only four of the next 14 matches came against teams with a losing record, including two matches against Cleveland.