NBA Finals Game 3 Summary

 Kawhi Leonard's hot hand is sending the Raptors home to Toronto on the cusp of their first NBA championship. ( photo)
Kawhi Leonard’s hot hand is sending the Raptors home to Toronto on the cusp of their first NBA championship. ( photo)

By Cameron Buford,

Kicking off the Game 4 telecast this past Friday, was GRAMMY® Award-winner NE-YO who sang the U.S National Anthem. Multi-platinum band Walk Off the Earth will perform the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 4 at the final game at Oracle Arena. This could very well be the final game in Oracle Arena.

Not many teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. In fact, the only team with a 3-1 lead that did not win the Finals was the 2016 Golden State Warriors. Of the previous 34 teams to take a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals:

• 18 teams won the series in five games

• 13 teams won the series in six games

• 2 teams won the series in seven games

• 1 team lost the series in seven games

Although the Golden State Warriors were 4-1 in the playoffs following a loss. Though their recent loss to the Toronto Raptors felt a little different. Having been hampered by injuries throughout this series the Warriors would need to summon their championship metal to stay alive in this series. Though Klay Thompson returned to play in Game 4, Warriors fans just may have seen Kevin Durant play in Oracle for the final time.

For many basketball fans, the Raptors appeared to have a size and length advantage. I wanted to know from Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr, how they planned to adjust to their apparent size advantage;

Q. What’s your strategy to combat their size and length that seemed to really impact the game a couple of nights ago?

Kerr response was: “Play harder. Play better defense. Our defense stunk the other night. We got to play better tonight.”

Well with Kawhi Leonard on the historical tear he’s on the Warriors would need to do more than just “play harder”. Leonard recorded his 14th 30-point game of the 2019 playoffs. Kawhi joins an elite class of players to score at least 30-point games in 14 games in a single postseason. Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James are the others to have done this.

Though Klay came back to lead the Warriors to score 28 points in Game 4. However, the Raptors got unexpected help from Serge Ibaka who went 9-of-12 shooting from the field. He became the first reserve to score 20 or more points and shoot at least 75 percent from the field in an NBA Finals game since Vinnie Johnson of the Detroit Pistons’ against the Portland Trail Blazers in 1990.

In this pivotal Game 4, the Raptors limited the sharpshooting Golden State Warriors to their worst 3-point shooting at 29.6% in the Finals. They also held the Warriors to under 100 points for the first time in 24 consecutive games. Having beaten the Warriors in both meetings during the regular season, they’re size advantage continued to play to the Raptors favor in these finals.

Though the Warriors are making their 5th straight NBA Finals appearance, they’re need to start 10 different lineups, in this postseason, may be evidence that injuries and fatigue may have caught up with them during their championship run.

In contrast, the Toronto Raptors become the second team in 51 years to have six players appear to the first three games of an NBA Finals and average more than 12 points per game. The Raptors also have made 10 or more 3-pointers in 10 consecutive games. With their game 3 wins at the Oracle Arena, the Raptors also extended their streak of at least one road win in each of their four playoff series.

In the post-game interviews, the Kawhi was asked about his thoughts on winning a title and Kyle Lowry was asked his thoughts on how they’ve been able to maintain their calm while being a game away from a championship. Both responses a below;

Q. If the Raptors win the NBA title, what do you think this will mean for Canada and the Toronto Raptors? You’ve already won with the San Antonio Spurs. You’ve seen the way it impacted that community. What do you think this will do for Canada?

KAWHI LEONARD: “I’m really not sure. I guess you really would have to ask somebody on the street or one of our fans. I’m pretty sure it’s a long time waiting. They’re going to be excited. I mean, they’re already excited just as us just being here for the first time. They’re going crazy after the Eastern Conference Finals and — I don’t know, there’s no telling. You got to ask probably like I said, a fan or somebody that’s in Canada, been living in Canada for a while. But I know they’re going to be super excited. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Q. Maybe a question for both of you, just after the game it was kind of stone-faced, business as usual. A win away from a championship. Some may think there would be some cause for celebration, there wasn’t. What’s the mindset?

KYLE LOWRY: “We didn’t do nothing yet. We haven’t done anything. We won three games. It’s the first of four. We understand that. They’re the defending champs, and they’re not going to go out easy. They’re going to come and fight and prepare to play the next game, and that’s how we’re preparing ourselves, that we have to — we got to prepare ourselves to play the next game. We haven’t done anything yet.”

Covering the NBA Finals for the first time, was an awesome experience for me. This experience was made much better by Chevrolet providing a vehicle for my trip. They provided me a 2019 Chevy Equinox to drive up to the Bay Area. I listed a few of the features that I really enjoyed this past week;

• Onboard WIFI

• Power Liftgate

• Keyless Start

• Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert a technology with side mirror alerts to help you avoid collision with moving vehicles

• Lane Keep Assist a technology that provides gentle steering wheel turns and lane departure warnings

• Switchable All-Wheel Drive system enhances traction and control on a variety of road. With switchable AWD, you can travel in the more fuel efficient FWD mode and a prompt will appear on the Driver Info Center if the system determines you should switch into AWD.

Game 4 proved to me that the Raptors are ready to win the first championship for Canada. Nick Nurse has done a wonderful job tinkering with their lineup throughout the season and their GM Masai Ujiri has done a great job building this team into a championship contender, that now is on the brink of winning the first championship in the team’s history. Please let me know your thoughts on these NBA Finals by reaching out to us on @whatsgoodinsports on twitter or commenting in the comment section of this article on