If the Toronto Raptors lost last night, you might as well have called this series wrap.
Already without Kevin Durant, the Warriors had to deal with another huge loss, as Klay Thompson was unable to play in Game 3. Without Thompson, the Warriors relied solely on Stephen Curry to provide their offense and he nearly beat the Raptors by himself.
In the end, the Raptors had great performances across the board, allowing them to close out the defending champs.
While Curry lost the game, he may have won something better, as he is now the favorite to win his first Finals MVP if the Warriors win the title.
Despite the loss, it was truly a masterful performance by Curry, as he played with aggression on both ends of the floor.
And while the Warriors surely missed Thompson’s shooting, they may have missed his perimeter defense more, as the Raptors shot the lights out from three.
A large portion of that three-point onslaught came from Danny Green. Green scored 18 points, making six of his 10 threes. Green was just one of six Raptors who finished scoring in double figures.
While Serge Ibaka was limited to just six points, he provided a huge lift protecting the rim, with six blocked shots.
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors in scoring with 30 points. He also filled out the stat sheet with 7 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks as he makes his own case for Finals MVP.
With the impending return of Durant and Thompson, the Raptors can’t rely on Leonard to win by himself though. They must continue to get performances like this from Kyle Lowry and the other role players if they want to close out this series.
While the Raptors have looked great in their two victories, it really seems like the Warriors are battling their injuries more than anything else.
If they can get Kevin Durant back into this series, even at 75%, the Warriors still have to be considered the favorites.
We will now all anxiously await to see the next chapter of this series unfold on Friday night.
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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