The Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 123-109 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night in Oakland, Calif., giving Toronto a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Here were five key moments from Wednesday’s game:
KLAY A NO-GO
Minutes before the game, the Warriors made the call that star guard Klay Thompson would not play after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday in Toronto.
The decision put veteran Shaun Livingston in the starting lineup.
One half of the Splash Brothers with Stephen Curry, Thompson was the Warriors’ third-leading scorer in the playoffs entering Game 3. With Kevin Durant and Kevon Looney also out, the Warriors were missing three key players.
Danny Green has struggled with his shot for much of the playoffs, but the Raptors guard had a big first quarter in Game 3.
After Curry nailed a three-pointer to cut what once was a double-digit Raptors lead to four, Green hit his third three of the first quarter with two seconds left to give Toronto a 36-29 edge.
Green had nine points in the first quarter, one more than he had in all of Game 2.
LOWRY HEATS UP
After a tough Game 2 in which he fouled out, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry looked much more comfortable in the first half of Game 3.
With the Warriors threatening to make a run at the end of the first half after the Raptors went nearly five minutes without scoring, Lowry drained a three off a nice feed from Serge Ibaka and then drove to the net for two more points in the final minute.
Lowry finished the first half with 15 points, two more than he had in all of Game 2. On the negative side, though, he also picked up his third foul in the final minute of the first half of Game 3.
After a Golden State basket late, the Raptors took a 60-52 lead into the locker-room.
KAWHI IMPOSES HIS WILL
Raptors star Kawhi Leonard stepped up in the third quarter, making sure the Warriors didn’t repeat their Game 2 heroics when they went on an 18-0 run to open the second half.
Leonard, held to nine points in the first half, scored 15 points in the third quarter and was a force all over the court.
A key sequence came late after Lowry was blocked on a drive to the net. Leonard tracked down the offensive rebound because of his hustle and found Green for a three to put Toronto up 96-80. The Raptors led 96-83 after three quarters, despite Curry putting up 40 points.
The Raptors got excellent play from Lowry and great energy from Ibaka in nearly five minutes to open the fourth quarter with Leonard on the bench.
When Leonard returned, he made an immediate impact. He nailed a pull-up jump shot and then drove by Curry for two more to give the Raptors their biggest lead of the night _ 111-94 with 5:42 left.
Later, Leonard escaped a double team, feeding it to Fred VanVleet, who nailed a three right just before the shot clock expired to put the Raptors up 118-105 with 1:37 left, all but sealing it.