One can never truly predict what is going to happen in the NBA Finals. Yet no one would have ever expected this series to unfold this way.
The Toronto Raptors have stunned the Golden State Warriors by going on the road and winning both Game 3 and Game 4.
Now the Warriors are on the verge of elimination, as they have fallen behind 3-1 in this series.
Golden State hopes that Kevin Durant can join them in Game 5 to try to save the day, but unless they get better performances across the board, the Raptors are going to run away with this series.
Toronto was just playing better basketball in Game 4, as they were swinging the ball around and finding the open man on every possession.
The Raptors played a methodical game, never resorting to hero ball even while Kawhi Leonard had an incredible game.
Toronto continued to get Golden State in foul trouble and absolutely killed them at the line.
Throughout the Warriors reign over the NBA, they have always owned the fourth quarter. But it was the Raptors that won the third quarter in Game 4, as they outscored Golden State 37-21.
Whenever Toronto’s offense stalled, Kawhi came through with timely baskets on his way to a game-high 36 points.
Every player in Toronto’s rotation had a great game, especially Serge Ibaka. Ibaka made nine of his 12 shots for 20 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
On the other hand, Golden State really struggled on the offensive end. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 55 points, but outside of their back court, no one else seemed to make shots.
While Curry scored 27 points, he did not play a great game either. Curry shot 9-for-22 from the field and just 2-for-9 from three, while also missing his fair share of assignments on the defensive end.
The Warriors are too good to call this series over though. All they have to do is win Game 5 on the road and they will be right back in it.
The Warriors were hoping to close out Oracle Arena with a championship win, but those hopes died tonight, as Game 7 would be played on the road.
Still, Golden State can make the last chapter of Oracle Arena’s history a good one, if they win on the road and get to play one last game in the NBA’s oldest arena.
Unless your a Raptors fan, its hard not to root for that scenario to play out, as these games have been too good for this series to end in five.
Three-Time NBA Champion Shaun Livingston Announces His Retirement
Over the past five seasons, the Golden State Warriors have put together one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning three championships and making five-straight appearances in the NBA Finals.
Now they are turning the page to a new era of Warriors basketball, still surrounded around their homegrown ‘Big Three’ of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green’.
But the role players from those great Warriors teams have moved on and for some, are calling it quits altogether. As Shaun Livingston just announced his retirement from the NBA.
In his farewell message, Livingston cites “the injury”, referring to a devastating knee injury that he suffered back in 2007.
The injury was so bad for Livingston, that it almost resulted in his leg being amputated it was so bad.
Livingston made a remarkable recovery from the injury and turned in a fantastic career. The last stages of his career came with the Golden State Warriors, were he proved to be an excellent backup point guard to Curry.
Without Livingston’s ability to make plays and play stout defense at 6-foot-7, the Warriors would not have been three-time champions.
Congrats to Livingston on a great career, which we never could have expected him to have back in 2007.
Joe Johnson Signs with the Detroit Pistons, Michael Beasley Released
After it appeared that Joe Johnson’s career may be coming to a close, Iso Joe found new life in the Big 3, working his way back into the NBA.
Johnson, 38, has been signed to the Detroit Pistons on a one-year contract.
Johnson did not garner any initial interest when it came to his free agency this offseason, but then came his stint in the Big 3, which saw him absolutely demolish the competition.
Johnson led his team, the Triplets, to a Big 3 championship and was named the league’s MVP. Now he goes back into the NBA, after he was out of the league for all of last season.
We last saw Johnson play for the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets in the 2017-18 NBA season, when he averaged 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the two teams.
What Johnson proved in the Big 3, is if you give him the minutes and the ball, he can still get buckets with the best of them.
To make room for him on the Pistons roster, they ended up releasing Michael Beasley, who was suspended to start the season anyway.
Johnson joins forces with Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, to a form a team that we would have been salivating over seven years ago.
Team USA Eliminated From FIBA World Cup After Losing to France in Quarterfinals
Team USA has officially been eliminated from the FIBA World Cup, suffering their most embarrassing international loss in some time.
France outscored Team USA by 13 points in the fourth quarter to seal a 10-point victory and advance to the semifinals.
Donovan Mitchell carried the Americans through the first three quarters of the game, finishing with a team-high 29 points.
On the other hand, Kemba Walker had a terrible last game, in what was otherwise an amazing tournament for the NBA All-Star. He was held to just 10 points and did not notch a single assist.
Walker was actually outplayed all game by French guard, Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina has had a disappointing start to his NBA career with the New York Knicks, but showed he can still play in this game.
Ntilikina, 21, is most known for being the last first-round pick by Phil Jackson, before he was removed from his role as the President of the Knicks.
It is a pick that has been mocked since, as better players like Mitchell where selected after Ntilikina was taken eighth overall.
In this game however, Ntilikina made all of the difference, as his work locking up Walker on the defense, proved to be the deciding factor in France’s win.
Ntilikina also hit two big shots at the end of the game for France, as they ended a 58-game winning streak by Team USA in international play.
Along with Ntilikina, France received big performances from their two biggest NBA stars, Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier.
Team USA was not the only team to get upset in the quarterfinals, as Serbia also suffered a shocking defeat by losing to Argentina.
Argentina’s only real well-known NBA player is Luis Scola, who has been out of the league for a few years. Yet they beat Nikola Jokic and a favored Serbian team.
Now Team USA will play Serbia in the loser’s bracket, meanwhile France will take on Argentina in the semifinals.
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