Ibaka claims and Kawhi sends: Toronto touches the Ring

Bestial party of Kawhi (36 + 12), who handled everything. Ibaka (20), on the other hand, was key in the victory. The Warriors are on the ropes.


The Toronto Raptors had never been in an NBA Finals and had even won the loser sambenito in recent years for their continuous playoff tripping. It will be necessary to see who was the last team to win three times in Oakland in the same season, one in the regular season and two in the Finals. Because it's a perfect way to remove that stigma from above. They have become a team that works like a watch and to which they have added the best competitive animal of the League: Kawhi Leonard. And they have the Warriors on the ropes, in a situation that has not been overcome by anyone before. A 3-1 having lost both home games and in series with 2-2-1-1-1 format. 0-30 for all the teams that were like this before them.

Klay Thompson returned to Golden State Warriors. When the starting quintet was announced one by one and it was the turn of the escort the Oracle came down. They knew that any help was short after what had happened two days ago. His presence was noticed immediately, for having another scorer with which to attack Toronto and for his spectacular work in defense. In this last facet, all the locals stood out, turning their area into a minefield. And more when after five minutes Kerr sat DeMarcus Cousins and pulled Kevon Looney, another that it seemed that he was not going to play again in this final.

With the pivot on the court the Raptors had no way to score, as long as you were not calling Kawhi Leonard. With four minutes to go until the end of the first quarter, Nick Nurse asked for his first timeout, things did not work out. The rest of Kawhi's teammates were 1/10 and the Warriors had taken all the possible rebounds under their rim: 12/12. They had an advantage of +11 the locals, but with the start of the second quarter Curry sat four minutes, the longest time spent on the bench since these Finals began. And his team noticed it to the point of seeing their advantage reduced by only four points. It is true that on the opposite side they also reserved Kawhi, but there the figure of Ibaka appeared, who was already key in the last quarter of the third match. This time he scored 8 points only in the second period.

Kerr put all his weapons back on the field and the first warning came that Klay was quite recovered. Two baskets in a row threatened to break the match and put the crowd on their feet. The Warriors had clearly improved both in attack and defense compared to the last day, and yet they were only going to go 46-42 at break. The Raptors have a very clear plan and the weapons with which to execute it and not the pulls of Klay, the defenses of Looney or whatever is put in front is going to take a hair out of it. What was alienating them was the defense in static, where the Warriors were dominating the situation. At halftime they had 11/23 in pitches in the first 12 seconds of each possession and 4/21 in the last 12.

Kawhi left the locker room ready to change this with a wonderful sequence: triple, steal and triple, assist and almost steal new. They had to answer the very same Splash Brothers with all their arsenal. But as I was saying, these Raptors no longer cling to anything. Ibaka got his first triple of the final in a huge game for him (20 points with a 9/12 shot, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 21 minutes) and Kerr called time with three minutes left to the end of the quarter. Not even in the stands are Canadians, who could hear the "Let's go Raptors!", A sample of where the game at that time.

Llegados to this point (67-79 with 12 minutes by play) Kawhi's exhibition was being tremendous. Even the fans of the Warriors got exclamations of admiration with each basket of the enemy. The Raptors had beaten them in the only place where until now they had been superior, the third quarters. The Californians had won two of the three. This time the partial was 21-37. The Canadians were not particularly successful in the shot, they were in very common percentages, but they knew much better how to neutralize their rival. In the Warriors, everything that was not Thompson signed a 2/17 in triples.

A so in the last quarter the visitors were dedicated to maintain the advantage as if those who had five consecutive finals were them. With a Lowry in his most cerebral role and with Kawhi putting the finishing touches on his magical night (36 + 12 and 4 robberies). A lack of 4 minutes the heads of the players of theWarriors began to look at the ground and the cries of the fans went off. In the absence of 2, Curry made a pitch that did not touch nor hoop and people exclaimed "¡Qué!?!", For immediately after Siakam put exactly the same shot. People masses left the Oracle Arena, probably aware that they were leaving the fourth ring in five years and that it could be the last time they saw their team in this historic pavilion. If the Raptors win on Monday the Oracle will be history for the Warriors and basketball, history for Canada as never before will have been in that country.



Photos from as.com

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