Warriors’ revenge rampage resumes vs. Raptors
In his first head-to-head with Golden State for Toronto after years of battling the Warriors in the West as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors’ charge with 37 points.
The Warriors have since gotten both All-Stars back, and have shifted into a new gear. They have won four straight, averaging 119.5 points.
One of those four wins came in a rematch with the Milwaukee Bucks, who routed the Warriors on their home floor 134-111 last month. With Curry back in the lineup, but not yet Green, Golden State evened the score with a 105-95 victory in Milwaukee on Friday.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he noticed the difference having Green back for the first time after an 11-game absence in Monday’s 116-108 victory over Minnesota.
“I just think we play with a faster pace; that’s the main thing,” the coach observed after the game. “The first few minutes, we looked different. (Green) got a couple of rebounds and pushed the ball and everybody else sort of said, ‘Oh, yeah, we got to run. Draymond’s got the ball.’ And he was out ahead of the play a couple of times. He gives us a different dimension and it’s great to have him back.”
Kerr then issued a warning to the Raptors and the rest of the NBA
“I think we are going to get much better,” he insisted. “I didn’t think we played very well (against Minnesota), but I thought it was a positive first step back. We had some silliness out there and some really questionable plays that we made, questionable decisions. I think we will get better with that and our movement will get better, but it was a good first step.”
It’s possible the Raptors will take the court a step slow for Wednesday’s rematch. Toronto held Leonard out of Tuesday’s 123-99 road romp over the Los Angeles Clippers with a bruised hip.
He will be re-evaluated prior to the Golden State game as the Raptors endure a second game in two nights.
“If his hip’s good, he’ll go,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse promised reporters before Tuesday’s game.
Kyle Lowry snapped out of a recent slump in Leonard’s absence, contributing 21 points and seven assists to the one-sided win over the Clippers.
The four-time All-Star had totaled 15 points in his previous four games, including a scoreless outing Sunday in a home loss to the Bucks.
“He’s taking a back seat, it’s a decision he’s made, and it’s helped our team, it’s helped guys have great years,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “He’s probably sacrificing for the greater of the team, which is honorable, but at the same time we still need him to keep reminding him that he we need him to be selfish a little bit too out there.”
Lowry, who averaged seven shots a game in his four-game slump, got off 13 shots (making eight) in his 32 minutes against the Clippers.