Coming off a dismantling of the New York Knicks, the Warriors arrived in Toronto with a great opportunity to gain some momentum and start off the second half of their road trip strong. With a win against the surging Raptors, the Warriors road trip record would have been 3-1 with two games left against the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics, guaranteeing at least a .500 record on this six-game road trip.
After winning the third quarter by eight points and having a five point lead with eight minutes left, the Warriors were in good shape to do so. However, a quick 11-0 run by the Raptors gave Toronto a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way, and the Warriors are stuck looking back on another tough defeat.
Despite poor shooting nights by Klay Thompson and David Lee, this game was right there for taking. However, they just couldn’t execute when it mattered most. After only eight turnovers in the first three quarters of the game, the Warriors turned the ball over five times in the final period, including four in the last two minutes of the game and only scored six points in the last five minutes of the game.
However, losing to the Raptors in Toronto is nothing to be ashamed of. While the last couple years have been tough for Toronto, they have turned it on since trading Rudy Gay and have now won seven of their last 10 home games and currently sit tied with the Chicago Bulls for third in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, this loss stings as the Warriors lost an opportunity to gain some separation in the Western Conference standings and now find themselves only one game up in the loss column on the Memphis Grizzlies and being out of the playoffs.
- Andre Iguodala’s struggles continue on the offensive end. His outside shot hasn’t been there for about a month now, and although he’s been more aggressive attacking the basket (four free throws last night), he still has failed to live up to expectations on that side of the ball.
- Stephen Curry had his fifteenth 30-point game of the season last night, after having 14 all of last season. The Warriors are only 6-9 when he scores more than 30 points this year and were 7-7 when he scored 30+ last season.
- Mark Jackson has gone back to the full bench mob for a couple minutes in the first half recently, and they started off well in the second quarter. The lineup of Steve Blake, Jordan Crawford, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Marresse Speights extended the Warriors lead from three to eight early in the second, only to see Greivis Vasquez go on a personal 7-0 run and bring the Raptors back into the game.
- The Warriors had great ball movement while taking care of the ball, finishing with 25 assists and only 13 turnovers. Entering the game, the Warriors were 20-3 when having an assist/turnover ratio greater than 1.5 but suffered their fourth defeat under such conditions yesterday.
- David Lee finished with a nice stat line of 20 points and 11 rebounds but did not have a good game. He struggled rotating on defense to three-point shooters (as he has all year) and missed several easy layups that he usually makes. He hasn’t returned to his early season form since returning from illness, shooting just 46%.
- Both David Lee and Stephen Curry played 43 minutes last night, and you could see the effects on them in the fourth quarter. The Warriors will need both of them at full strength if they want to beat the Pacers in Indiana, so hopefully those extensive minutes don’t result in tired legs.
What’s On Deck
The Warriors head to Indiana to face the Pacers on the first leg of a back-to-back to end their six game road trip. The Pacers have a 29-3 home record so getting a win will be a tough task, but they have looked shaky of late. They escaped with a three point victory over the Utah Jazz last night, and have won their last three games against the Bucks, Celtics and Jazz by only 13 combined points. The Warriors will need to bring their A game to get a victory, but it isn’t as impossible as it may seem.