OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — The return of the Warriors’ Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney made it seem, for some time, that the Warriors could beat the Raptors in Game 4. Their presence did help the Warriors, and the Warriors maintained this edge. That is, until halftime. The Raptors came back in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors by 16 points. This deficit was too much to overcome for the Warriors, and the Raptors prevailed, 105-92. This was the first time in the 2019 Finals that the Warriors scored less than 100 points. The Warriors saying, ‘Strength in Numbers’ was not communicated in Game 4, with the Warriors not scoring more than 25 points in any quarter.
There has only been one time in which a team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. That was the Cleveland Cavaliers, who overcame it in the 2016 NBA Finals, against the Warriors. Now, the Warriors are in the same position. In order to win the Finals, the Warriors will have to stretch the series to a complete seven games. The Raptors, however, have a chance to win in at home in Game 5.
The Warriors came out strong, hoping to tie the series 2-2 and take advantage of playing at Oracle Arena. They finished the first quarter with 23 points, while limiting the Raptors to 17. The Raptors cut the lead to 4 points by halftime, but the Warriors still had the edge. However, the third quarter, in which the Warriors’ typically dominate, the Raptors outscored the Warriors by 16 points and claimed the lead for themselves. Klay Thompson came back pumped and ready, drilling 28 points. Steph Curry followed suit with 27. Besides these two, the Warriors offense sputtered.
The Raptors replied with 5 three-pointers, 2 of these daggers hit consecutively by Kawhi Leonard, taking the lead and along with it, the momentum. Serge Ibaka also contributed a large part to the Raptors’ offense, with 20 points off the bench, becoming the first reserve to score at least 20 points and shoot at least 75% from the field in the Finals since 1990. Ibaka, in fact, credited the team with his 20 points, saying, “Man, I was just trying to play basketball out there, and we know they would try to take Kawhi away, double him. So I just tried to play in the space. And also Kawhi and Kyle, all the guys, they did a great job to find me every time I was moving.”
Game 5: Victory or Redemption?
Raptors coach Nick Nurse said “…Home or away, we know how hard we have to play and just focus in on trying to be the hardest working team on the floor. If we do that, then we’ll give ourselves a chance to win and go from there.” The Raptors know that they cannot accept victory now, learning from the Warriors’ mistakes in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors know that they cannot afford to make any mistakes. Kevin Durant is bound to be a big factor in the Finals, but the Warriors cannot rely on it. Injuries are unpredictable so they will need to find a way to counteract the Raptors.
The stakes of Game 5 are enormous. The Warriors are striving to continue their dynasty, and a Game 5 loss can result in it crumbling down. The Warriors will need to win all 3 games left in the series to continue their dynasty and win their third championship in a row. The Raptors have a chance to establish themselves as the new dynasty. Game 5 is one of three chances they will have to win the series. If the Raptor win, the would become the first Canadian team to ever win the NBA Finals.
Game 5 will be in Toronto on Monday at 9PM Eastern/6PM Pacific.
Watch court-side postgame analysis of Game 4 by Diya TV’s Ravi Kapur and Jonathan Choe.
India Rising puts forth valiant effort in loss to Boeheim’s Army in TBT
SYRACUSE (Diya TV) — With The Basketball Tournament commencing, most eyes have been set on Boeheim’s Army and their path to repeating as champions. However, their first match provided an opponent true to its name: India Rising.
While one may look at the 90-62 score and disregard the India Rising squad, when watching the game, the team did truly give Boeheim’s Army a run for their money in the first half. Facing a team full of guys who played under one of the greatest basketball coaches ever, Jim Boeheim, India Rising jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and was able to keep pace with Boeheim’s Army for a substantial amount of time. Most people may have written them off early but they kept fighting. They had a clear cut goal to bring attention to basketball players of Indian descent by pulling off a cinderella win and carve a path for themselves. It is clear that they put in their full effort to try and realize those goals.
In the second half, Boeheim’s army was able to pull away but India Rising had made their message clear: Indian ballers should not be overlooked. The box score does not paint the real picture of how much heart, determination, and grit India Rising displayed to get more recognition. General manager Gautam Kapur and head coach Ajay Sharma have done an excellent job overseeing the initiative and giving the best Indian hoopers a chance to shine on a big stage.
In a 64 team tournament, India Rising stood out and gave a near-professional squad a tough time. For what this team set out to achieve, no heads should be hung low. India Rising should be getting the recognition they so rightfully deserve.
Warriors win Game 5 at home, now just one game away from the title
SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —The Golden State Warriors are just one win away from their fourth title in eight years. The Dubs returned home and overpowered the Boston Celtics 104-94 to take a 3-2 series lead, even though Stephen Curry only scored 16. Infact, Curry did not make a single three, a first in the last 3.5 years. Andrew Wiggins on the other hand matched Tatum while scoring a team-high 26 points and added 13 rebounds, including the dagger dunk to finish off Boston.
Draymond Green saw glimpses of a turnaround game as he was very close to a triple double before fouling out for the 3rd time in this series. Klay Thompson made a great contribution on the offensive end with 21 points, on the third anniversary of his horrific injury in the finals against the Cavaliers in 2019 . The Warriors trio of Curry, Thompson and Green were able to cement themselves even further with their 20th Finals win together, the most of any trio over the past 30 years.
The Celtics saw franchise star Jayson Tatum have a better game scoring wise than the last game with a team-high 27 points. But while Tatum showed up for game 5, Jaylen Brown did not. When both of those players are on at the same time, the Celtics can light it up. However, there has been inconsistency from both throughout the Finals. The C’s will need both guys to be on for them to fend off the Dubs and force a Game 7.
The Warriors can close out the series and add a 7th ring to their collection with a win on Thursday in the hostile environment of TD Garden. A collective team effort would do the trick as in Game 4, Curry shouldered the load while the rest of his supporting cast did the same for him. The Celtics will look to put forth their best effort of the season in a final effort to keep their season alive. It could very well come down to if both Tatum and Brown can prove they can be a dynamic duo on the biggest stage.
Warriors seal Game 4 victory with an epic Steph Curry performance, tie series 2-2
BOSTON (Diya TV) — The Warriors, seal Game 4 victory with a vintage Stephen Curry performance, evened up the NBA Finals in an absolute thriller, winning 107-97.
The start of the game saw both teams match each other pound for pound with Boston ultimately taking the first quarter by a single point. There were notions before the game about Curry having a foot sprain, but he quickly laid those doubts to rest. He began to heat up in the first quarter (and talked some trash along the way). Conversely, Draymond Green continued his finals performance with more fouls than points. Robert Williams III showed off his skills as a rim protector on defense, which was a missing piece for the Celtics up until the point of Williams’ return. In the first half, Curry and Jayson Tatum battled against each other in classic star matchup fashion with Curry scoring 19 and Tatum going for 16. Tatum was money from beyond the arc (made 3 out of his 4 three-point attempts), just like he’s been all Finals as he’s been shooting 48% on 3’s.
The officiating in the first half was questionable, especially in the second quarter when Payton Pritchard clearly traveled and yet a foul was called instead. This set off Warriors HC Steve Kerr and his temper led to him getting a technical foul. For a non-call to be that egregious and then to double down by giving Kerr the technical foul is asinine and something that certainly sparked controversy. Attention was also brought to the Celtics free throw attempts versus the Warriors (15 and 5 respectively) even with both teams attacking the basket often. Despite this disparity, the Warriors were able to keep it within 5 at the end of the half.
More Curry magic continued in the second half with him carrying the team on his back, in essence. 43 points highlight the stat line but when watching the game, it was clear as day that he was really the only dependable source of scoring throughout the ballgame for the Dubs. With 7 threes made tonight, we saw the greatest shooter in league history go to work and will his team to victory. In the biggest stage of basketball, Curry made his mark once again.
The Celtics now face a daunting Game 5 heading to San Francisco. Winning both games on their home court would have all but sealed a championship for them. But now, the door has not only creaked, but swung wide open. The #1 defense in the NBA will gameplan to try and find answers for Curry. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be facing a challenging environment in Chase Center, but one they are familiar with.
Meanwhile, the Warriors will look to capitalize off the momentum and adrenaline this win has given them. Off the heels of a classic performance, Curry will try to carry on his titanium-strong Finals MVP case. Draymond Green, coming back to friendly faces in San Francisco, will try to turn around an awful stretch. This series is shaping up to be a dramatic one with both teams trading blows. Game 5 should deliver more popcorn-worthy entertainment, especially if Stephen Curry is involved.
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