In what was the second meeting between two teams that are both heavy-weights in their respective conferences, the Raptors beat the Warriors 113-93. On the second night of a back-to-back. At Golden State. Without Kawhi Leonard.
These are my takeaways from the Wednesday night game:
1. The Raptors are NOT Better Without Kawhi Leonard
After Toronto handled the Warriors to move to 7-1 in games without Kawhi Leonard, there has been some speculation as to whether the Raptors might actually be better without Leonard.
Obviously, that's preposterous: Kawhi is an MVP-calibre-player who is an elite threat on offence and the best perimeter defender in the NBA.
Once Kawhi, who is averaging 26.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, gets back in to his full rhythm, he'll be even more of a plus for the Raptors than he already is. Until then, don't get confused by the stats - Kawhi Leonard is a vital piece of this Raptors team.
2. Steph, Klay, and Draymond Were All Non-Factors
It's rare to see bad games from Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, perennial All-Stars with the Warriors and three-time NBA champions. It's even rarer to see bad games from two-time MVP Steph Curry. All three having a bad night is unheard of: yet tonight, it happened.
Curry, (10 points) Klay, (14 points) and Draymond (2 points) were a big negative for their team, adding little offensively and being a negative on the defensive end, with Draymond getting in foul trouble, and Curry being bullied by Danny Green all game long.
The Raptors can't count on these kinds of performances in a potential Finals matchup between the two from three of the four guys that make up the core group of Warriors.
3. Kyle Lowry is Back
Kyle Lowry had been struggling as of late: he hit a new low when he failed to score a single point in 34 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
He bounced back last night with a strong performance against the Clippers, and proved his resurgence with a 23-point, 12-assist night against the Warriors.
The Raptors have the fourth game of their road trip in the West on Friday against the Trail Blazers. Hope to see Kawhi Leonard back with the team in that game after missing the last two due to a hip injury.