Golden State Warriors
The Toronto Raptors took back home court advantage from the Golden State Warriors by winning Game 3 in convincing fashion. The Warriors have not been in this position before, having a must win game so early in a series. Golden State’s injuries are well documented but give the Raptors credit for playing well despite who’s on the floor.
Keys to the game
On offense, Toronto has to spread the wealth among the supporting cast to make the defense work even harder. Ball movement creates open shots, high field goal percentages and keeps the Warriors defense in scramble mode. Even when the jumpers are falling, they still need to have balance by going to the basket.
When it comes to defense, the Raptors have to run Golden State off the three-point line and not give up open looks. They can’t afford to give up second opportunities after great initial defense or there could be a high price to pay. Using their length can only benefit the game plan of disrupting the Warriors rhythm.
Golden State must find more scoring options outside Stephen Curry or it will be difficult to keep pace. They need to use the three-point line as a weapon. They have not shot well causing the defense to congest the paint. Taking care of the basketball is essential, minimum turnovers keep Toronto’s transition game under control.
Defensively, the Warriors have to rebound to limit the Raptor’s second chance points. They have to stay close to shooters to cut down on open looks and protecting the paint is a priority. Just getting back on defense is not enough, Golden State must locate players.
The x-factors for Toronto will be Norman Powell and Danny Green. Powell can add an off the dribble dimension few Raptors possess. Green’s defense and experience are invaluable but his outside shooting can take the offense to another level.
The x-factor for Golden State will be DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson. Cousins can cause problems when he’s in attack mode and force them to double team him. Thompson is coming off an injury but his mere presence must be accounted for and will open up the floor.
Prediction- Even with Klay Thompson available to play, Toronto is rolling on both ends and will carry that momentum to a road victory to put Golden State on the brink.