In the end, it was an epic collapse by the Toronto Raptors as they squandered a 27 point third quarter lead and were out scored 42-15 in the fourth quarter for a 112-103 loss to the Warriors at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night.
Each team entered the game after losing 5 of their past 7 games and until the start of the fourth quarter, it looked like Toronto would be moving on with the easy win. However, Jermaine O’Neal stepped up defensively and Stephen Curry went off at the other end and the Raptors ran out of answers.
The Warriors started Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. The Raptors started Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Tyler Hansbrough and Amir Johnson.
First Quarter 36-19 Raptors
This game starts out with great pace and both teams scoring. Valanciunas opens the scoring for Toronto with a short jump shot that sets up a massive dunk as he spins past Bogut in the paint a few plays later. After 6.7 minutes the score is tied at 14 when the Raptors start an expected 22-5 run to close out the quarter.
Lowry leads Toronto with 11 points and Gay has 9 points on 4-6 shooting. Hansbrough has 2 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Raptors own the boards 14-5. Jermaine O’Neal leads the Warriors with 5 points.
Second Quarter 65-48
Julyan Stone gets the backup point guard duties and does a nice job on Curry, but the Warriors take advantage of Barnes on Terrence Ross and anybody on Steve Novak to cut into the Raptors lead. Warriors close to within 10 points after 3.6 minutes. The Warriors run stops when Coach Casey brings his starters back in, but they are just trading points. With 3.8 minutes left in the half, the Raptors lead is 48-39 and Casey brings Novak back into the game and the move pays off big-time. Novak nails 3 three-pointers in 1.6 minutes to extend the Raptors lead back up to 19 points. Barnes hits a buzzer-beating 2-pointer to bring the Warriors back to within 17 points.
Barnes leads the Warriors with 16 points on 6-8 shooting and Lee has 10 points.
Third Quarter 88-70
Raptors open the third quarter on a 10-0 run to jump out to a 27 point lead. DeRozan is starting to get hot and Gay is hitting shots again after a quiet second quarter. But this is the high scoring Warriors and they weren’t going away. By the end of the quarter, all 5 Warriors starters had scored in double-digits and Curry was beginning to force the issue offensively with some effect.
DeRozan leads the Raptors with 20 points. Barnes still leads the Warriors with 16 points.
Fourth Quarter 112-103
The Warriors open the final quarter with a 5-0 run that they extend to 11-4 over the first 3 minutes by going inside to O’Neal and Lee.
With O’Neal clogging the lane and rest of the Warriors stepping up their defense, the Raptors struggle to score, especially Valanciunas who is completely baffled by O’Neal. Valanciunas second guessed himself when O’Neal left him a lane to the basket and actually waited for O’Neal to recover. After unsuccessfully trying to back down O’Neal, Valanciunas just started giving up the ball and Casey had to bring back Johnson, but Johnson didn’t fare any better.
With the Raptors scorers being held in check, Curry led the charge back. The Raptors tried trapping Curry, but too often that left Thompson open and he finished with 22 points on 6-12 three point shots. Curry had 3 triples, but he made his mark going inside to get to the free throw line 10 times and ended up with 27 points, 10 assists and 5 steals. O’Neal finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Lee had 18 points and 8 rebounds.
The Raptors have seen this situation play out before during this season. When an elite team takes their game to another level, Toronto just doesn’t have a response. DeRozan led the Raptors with 26 points. Lowry had 20 points and 9 assists. Gay had 18 points and Johnson had 16 points and 10 boards. But no one could stop the Warriors from taking control of this game when it counted.
The huge Raptors rebounding advantage in the first half shrunk to just 38-36 by the end of the game as Toronto was completely dominated over the final 14 minutes of this contest.
This was a big game for the Raptors because the Celtics had taken over first place in the Atlantic Division after beating Milwaukee earlier in the evening and they retain their position with the Raptors loss.
The Raptors continue on with their road trip to face the Suns on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday.
The Warriors head to Houston on Friday and Memphis on Saturday.