No one thought anyone could take down the Warriors but that’s only because no one predicted the onslaught of injuries

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from NBA.com | Art by Tricia Guevara

The Golden State Warriors have played exactly 100 games this season and never have they experienced as many injuries in their lineup as they have in the finals. The defending champions entered Game Three without three of its most important players—Kevin Durant, Klay Thomson, and Kevon Looney.

With Durant and Thompson unavailable, Golden State’s offensive rotation is no longer as deep as it normally is with Steph Curry doing his best to fill the voids.

Curry, who now handles the rotation more than ever, tried to execute the game like how he normally does—create space and produce from it. Throughout Game Three, this was what Curry attempted to do but there was no other Warrior that could consistently convert.

So the two-time MVP had to take over but not in the way you would expect him to do. He erupted for a playoff-high of 47 points. Twenty-five of Curry’s points came in the first half alone as he scored seven of the team’s nine field goals. In the second half, Curry put up 22 points and finished with more field goals than the rest of the Warriors’ starting lineup. In basketball, a player can only do so much to win for the team. This 123-109 loss to the Raptors gave Curry a taste of Lebron James’ situation in the past five years as the lonesome star who pushed himself beyond his limits due to injured teammates.

It didn’t take long for the Toronto Raptors to bounce back from their Game Two loss. In a night where they knew the Warriors had their missing pieces, it seemed as if everything was going Toronto’s way. The Raptors had one of the best shooting performances in team history after shooting an impressive 45 percent from the three-point arc and 52 percent from the field. Unlike the Warriors, not a single starter in the Raptors scored fewer than 17 points, which was clearly the main reason why the team led throughout the game.

The clutch shooting of Danny Green and Kyle Lowry was another reason why the Raptors played its best game in the finals yet. Every time the Warrios attempted a run, the Raptors had an answer. Majority of the loose balls, small breaks, and shots went their way and it’s these little things that really make a huge impact on the game. Green’s outstanding three-point night saw him convert six out of 10 attempts while Kawhi Leonard’s “quiet” 30-point game was too much for the defending champions.

We have reached a point where it seems like the Golden State Warriors could possibly be in jeopardy of losing their fourth NBA championship in five years. No one ever thought this golden dynasty would ever go down but that’s because no one could have ever predicted injuries, too. As the finals intensifies, the defending champions now find themselves not just up against a fierce and hungry Raptors team but also the most unfortunate injuries they have ever experienced this season.

But then again, the Golden State Warriors are the defending champions for a reason. They have been in the biggest stage of basketball for over five years now and that’s just proof that they have what it takes to grind their way through multiple injuries. As cliché as it sounds, you can’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion.

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