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Meanwhile, the Raptors have struck back. Andrew Bogut injured in the third leaving an already decimated Warriors exposed. Here is the report.
Toronto has shot the lights out to blast the Warriors off their own court and steal back the NBA Finals with a 2-1 series lead.
The Raptors had six players score more than 10 points as they kept Golden State at arms length for almost the entire contest.
They did it comfortably in the end with a 123-109 win to leave the Warriors’ dynasty on the brink. Toronto is now just two wins away from a first NBA championship.
An off-balance Fred VanVleet three-point dagger killed off the Warriors with 1.39mins remaining as the Raptors led 118-105.
Aussie Andrew Bogut played his biggest Playoffs game since returning to the Warriors earlier this year, putting up six points, seven rebounds and three assists while also proving to be a spark in defence.
Bogut’s nice left hook from the paint in the third quarter gave him a perfect three from three from the field at the time.
The move got ESPN analyst Jeff van Gundy a little too excited, with the American commentator getting mixed up between Sydney and Melbourne for Bogut’s first season back in the NBL.
“That was a flashback to Melbourne, where he was the MVP,” van Gundy said, clearly unaware the Victorian played for the Sydney Kings this season.
Unfortunately, Bogut was forced to the locker room at the end of the third quarter after appearing to suffer an injury. He returned to the game mid-way through the final quarter — but by then the game was all but over.
The Warriors closed to within seven points in the fourth quarter, but Toronto always found the bucket needed to stomp out any hope of a Golden State fightback.
The home side simply had no answer to the Raptors’ superior shooting. The Raptors hit 17 or 38 from down town, while the Warriors hit 12 of 36. Without Steph Curry’s extraordinary haul of 47 points, the Raptors shot just six of 22 from beyond the arc.
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 30 points, but Pascal Siakam (18 points), Marc Gasol (17), Danny Green (18) and Kyle Lowry (23) all had big moments.
The Warriors are now desperately hoping stars Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will be able to return from injuries ahead of Game 4 on Saturday (AEST).
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game it would be a game-time decision about injured shooter Klay Thompson, with the major concern being the possibility of the 29-year-old guard doing more damage to the hamstring if he played with the best-of-seven final level at 1-1.
“Our training staff will let us know the risk,” Kerr said before the decision was announced.
“It’s still early in the series, so if there’s risk, then we won’t play him.”
Thompson, a five-time NBA All-Star, had never missed a playoff game in his career, a streak of 120 in a row that ended with him being benched.
The only player with a longer active streak of playoff appearances for his team is Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James at 239.
Thompson was put onto the active roster and warmed up with his teammates before being benched.
Kevin Durant, Golden State’s top playoff scorer with 34.2 points a game, was ruled out of game three on Tuesday.
The 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player has been out for nearly a month with a right calf injury, the Warriors going 6-1 without him.
Kerr said Durant has had good workouts the past two days and he hopes to put him in scrimmage situations on Thursday with an eye to game four on Friday.
“He’s got to continue to improve and not have any setbacks,” Kerr said.
“That’s the main thing.”
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