Friday night is why Steph Curry doesn’t have any Finals MVPs.
Friday night is why every year in the Finals, segments of NBA Twitter rip him.
Friday night is why you can never depend on Wardell Stephen Curry II when you need him the most.
Because when you’re down 2-1, and playing in a game that could be the very last in Oracle Arena, the two-time MVP, and the man who is the first, and only, unanimous MVP in NBA history, is supposed to carry his franchise on his back.
But, like an annual broken clock, Curry couldn’t be the Warrior that Golden State needed.
His stat line?
27 points on 22 shots, with only two 3-pointers on 9 attempts. And for all the people that love to look at analytics, Curry has a -11 plus/minus for the game.
However, while Curry may have been one of Golden State’s issues on Friday night, he wasn’t the only one. After scoring exactly 109 points in each of the first three games of the series, the Warriors offense stalled, due to the Raptors defense, as they fell 105-92 to Toronto.
The first half of the game was ugly for the Raptors as they were only able to knock down two 3-pointers, had a ton of turnovers, and looked out of sorts. But somehow, the Raptors were able to hang around, mostly due to Kawhi Leonard who scored 14 of Toronto’s 17 points in the first quarter while his teammates shot 1-13 in the opening period.
Leonard finished with 36 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals, and was a +13 in a performance that was the complete opposites of Curry’s.
“I don’t play hero basketball. I don’t play for fans. I’m just playing to win,” said Leonard after the game. “I’m not out here trying to break records, whatever is on the scoreboard, as long as it helps my team win, I’m satisfied with it.”
As the Warriors get ready to fly across the country to prepare for Game 5 in Toronto on Monday, the third quarter is what will be the hardest thing to watch when they review the game film, as the Raptors found their shooting stroke in the third quarter.
“We haven’t really had a good team shooting night, and I knew eventually at some point we were due for one,” said Raptors forward Danny Green after going 6-for-10 on 3-point attempts in Game 3. “We still have to do a better job defensively on that end of the floor to limit those guys better so we don’t have to rely on our offense or our shooting to win games for us.”
Green turned into a prophet as the Raptors were able to hold the Warriors to their lowest point total of the postseason, while their 8 second half 3-pointers were the perfect complement to their defense. Pascal Siakam’s 19 points and another 20 from Serge Ibaka helped as well, as the Warriors didn’t have any answers for the Raptors’ lanky front line.
To be frank, after halftime it was a wrap for the Warriors. And somehow, despite all his terrible predictions, ESPN NBA analyst Paul Pierce was the only one that saw this coming, as he proclaimed that Friday night was going to be the final game in Oracle Arena.
“This is how I always thought it would go because they didn’t have Kevin Durant, said Pierce. “I always said that he tipped the scale the last few years. Now when you take him out of the equation, I think it’s even ground across the league and Golden State comes back down to Earth, and that’s what we’re seeing in this series.”
Ironically, all the pressure now falls on the Raptors.
Since the Warriors are the only team that’s ever been on both sides of “3-1,” it now means that Toronto has everything to gain, and everything to lose.