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A Spurs’ eye view of Game 2 of the NBA Finals

Injuries and a wild Warriors run define Game 2.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know if any home team has ever given up a 20-0 run in an NBA Finals game, including an 18-0 run to start the third quarter. Toronto did, and that 18-0 run was part of a 43-18 run (and a 24-1 run) that turned a 12-point Raptors lead in the second quarter into a 13 point Warriors lead in the third. (Reminded me of the Spurs 58-22 run in Game 5 against the Heat.) As a result, O Canada is not just the national anthem — it is a lament for a wasted opportunity for Canada’s only NBA team.

Here are some other thoughts, starting with several about Toronto’s ex-Spurs:

  1. Kawhi Leonard’s box score for the game looked good — 34 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive) and 3 assists — but he shot only 8 for 20 overall, and 2 of 9 from 3, and had 5 turnovers. At no point did he jump aggressively and rise up over a defender. Once again, long-time Kawhi watchers (like me) surely saw that he still has no explosiveness, which makes his production even more remarkable. In essence, he did all of that without being able to jump. At one point, Mike Breen started talking about whether Kawhi was healthy by saying that “Leonard doesn’t seem to have... ” I thought he was going to say “any lift” but instead said “any limp”. If you wanted proof that Kawhi is compromised, at one point DeMarcus Cousins (playing his first extended minutes in nearly two months) beat him on a drive. And on the play when Andre Iguodala made the three-pointer to clinch the game, Shawn Livingston beat Kawhi to a floated pass by Steph Curry — something that would not happen to a 100% Kawhi Leonard. Indeed, a 100% Kawhi steals the pass and goes coast to coast to tie the game with dunk.
  2. Danny Green had an interesting game. Unlike Kawhi, who had superficially good stats, DG did not. But I thought he had an excellent defensive game — including on the Klay Thompson missed three-pointer on which Klay hurt himself trying to draw a foul. The Raptors trusted DG’s defense so much that they put him on Curry to start the game. Not coincidentally, Curry did not score in the first half while Danny was his primary defender. DG also made the key three-pointer in the last minute which cut the lead to 2 before Iggy’s 3-pointer 20 seconds late clinched the game. That being said, Danny did force a few possessions in the first half, trying to post up Curry, which is not his game. In a Finals game, every possession matters.
  3. We must give some credit to ex-Spur Steve Kerr for starting Cousins instead of bringing him off the bench. Remember that Cousins has probably never come of the bench in his career, which may help explain his weak performance in Game 1. And it’s is not as if Cousins’ start would displace anyone special — Game 1 starter Jordan Bell wasn’t even active for Game 2.
  4. A final Spursian comment: The Warriors had 34 assists on 38 made baskets. Wow.
  5. After Game 1, I commented that Draymond Green had one of the weaker triple doubles in recent history. Exactly 10 points, rebounds and assists, on 2 for 9 shooting with 5 turnovers. All that with the guy he was covering (Pascal Sikiam) going off for 32 points on 14 for 17 shooting. In Game 2, Draymond just missed the triple double (17/10/9) but shot 6 for 12 and held Sikiam to 12 points on 5 for 18 from the floor. He also had his usual great defensive game off the ball and when matched up on Leonard.
  6. I wrote an earlier post about how impressive it would be if the Warriors won it all without Kevin Durant. Now they may need to do it without Thompson.
  7. I have never bought a pizza that didn’t make it home with me. However, Domino’s Pizza is now spending millions of dollars advertising “pizza insurance” so that if you drop your pizza, you can get a replacement. Is this the definition of a solution in search of a problem?