Dubs Lead

Role Players Propel Warriors to Game 2 Win

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What. A. Game.

The Raptors looked set to take a 2-0 series lead on the road to Oakland. They ended the first half up by five, but led by as many as 12 and looked dominant at times. Kawhi Leonard came out balling the way people expected in Game 1 and the team was working as one.

Then, the Warriors did their thing in the third quarter. Over the course of the dynasty, the Dubs have become known for their third quarter dominance, and they upheld the reputation tonight.

They came out and scored 18 unanswered points to start the third. They turned a five-point deficit into a 13-point lead in a matter of just under six minutes. From there on out, they didn’t look back and closed out the game in style, with Andre Iguodala hitting a dagger three to seal the game.

Iguodala wasn’t the only role player who stepped up tonight. DeMarcus Cousins made his first finals start and played extremely well, all things considered. Despite the fact that head coach Steve Kerr said Cousins might be able to play 20 minutes, he ended up spending 28 minutes on the hardwood.

In those 28 minutes, Cousins looked fantastic. He finished four assists shy of a triple double, pouring in 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Defensively, he recorded two blocks and looked solid, showing intense effort the entire game. He also finished plus-12 and was perfect from the stripe.

Quinn Cook was another solid contributor off the bench. When Klay Thompson, who finished with a team-high 25 points on 58 percent shooting, went down with a left hamstring injury in the third quarter, it was Cook who filled in for the all star.

Cook entered the game and hit three, three-pointers to finish the game with nine points off the bench. Cook’s shots were huge momentum boosters and helped to keep the Warriors on top as the Raptors tried to claw their way back into the game.

Leonard did his best to carry the Raptors to victory yet another time this postseason, but came up short in this one. He finished the game with a game-high 35 points, adding 14 rebounds and five assists to his statline as well. Down the stretch he hit difficult shot after difficult shot, but it was the missed shots that determined the game.

https://twitter.com/Raptors/status/1135364616798818304

Both teams struggled to score down the stretch. The score stood at 106-98 in favor of the Warriors from the 4:26 mark in the fourth quarter all the way until the 1:08 mark when Leonard hit a free throw.

A full three minutes went by with neither team scoring a bucket, and had either team managed to do so they could have established a clear dominance over the last few minutes of the game and likely would have come out on top.

Both teams should be kicking themselves for they way they performed down the stretch, but the Raptors especially. They let a game slip away at home to a Warriors team that was playing without Kevin Durant and Thompson. This doesn’t bode well as they take to the road for game three.

It was Iguodala who iced the Warriors win, stepping up huge for the second time this postseason. After sealing a victory against the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals with a game-winning block on Damian Lillard, Iguodala came through in the clutch again in game two.

With the shot clock winding down and the Raptors electing not to foul (despite Nick Nurse’s efforts), Iguodala found himself with space and time at the three point line. When nobody decided to contest, Iguodala fired up a three and buried it to put the Warriors up five with 5.9 seconds left in the game.

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1135377702418931717

As the teams head back to Oakland all the momentum is with Golden State. The Warriors locked up home court advantage for the rest of the series, and with Thompson saying he doesn’t think he’ll miss game three, it appears they’ll only get stronger with the impending return of Durant as well. The Raptors will need a huge response in either game three or four if they want to keep any hope alive of ending their first finals trip as champions.

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About Jared Penna

Jared was born and raised in central Massachusetts and is currently studying journalism at Quinnipiac University. Currently writes for TLSM's Celtics Lead branch.

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