For Raptors, a bad six-minute stretch proved very costly
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 03, 2019 11:22 AM
FILE - TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 29: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors exits the arena after warming up before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers prior to Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — It all came apart in about six minutes for the Toronto Raptors.
They went scoreless over their first 12 possessions of the second half, a stretch during which what had been a double-digit lead late in the second quarter became a double-digit deficit to the Golden State Warriors.
With that, the lead was gone for good.
And so, too, is the Raptors' home-court advantage in the NBA Finals. The Warriors never gave up the lead again, going on to beat the Raptors 109-104 in Game 2 to even the title series.
Game 3 is Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) on the Warriors' home floor, Oracle Arena.
The costly six minutes included: Eight missed shots by Toronto, five turnovers and 18 consecutive points given up to the Warriors. Throw in the last two points of the half for Golden State, and it was a 20-0 run in all.
Pascal Siakam was 0-for-3 in that bad stretch. Kawhi Leonard was 0-for-2, as was Marc Gasol — who had two of the turnovers on offensive fouls. Fred VanVleet missed a three-point try.
They led 47-35 in the second quarter, 58-48 late in the half — and the Warriors, in a flash, turned that around and went up 72-59. Add it all up, and it was a 24-1 run for the two-time defending champions.
Even after all that sputtering, the Raptors still had chances.
Leonard made three free throws — two for a foul, one more for a technical on Stephen Curry — with 1:08 left to get the Raptors within 106-101. The Raptors forced a turnover on the next possession, and then got a three-pointer from Danny Green with 27 seconds left to close the deficit to two.
Then they needed to get as defensive stop.
They didn't get it. A helter-skelter possession for Golden State was capped by Andre Iguodala's three-pointer with 5.9 seconds left, allowing the Warriors to escape Toronto with a series split.
There will be more than the bad stretch for the Raptors to lament before Game 3 rolls around. The Raptors shot only 37 percent. They were 11-for-38 from three-point range. They couldn't take advantage of the Warriors again being without Kevin Durant, losing Klay Thompson in the fourth quarter with hamstring tightness and seeing key reserve big-man Kevon Looney leave with a chest contusion.
Now they'll need to win at least once on the Warriors' home floor to win a title.