This game started off much more even than in Game 1 and it looked as though we might be calling this the ‘Klay game’. A hamstring injury cut his game short as he finished with 25 points in 32 minutes and four of six from three-point range and some ridiculous shots in a Warriors win.
What did end up defining this game was a 20-point run that the Warriors went on to start the second half that gave them a lead which they wouldn’t cede for the remainder of the game.
What’s most surprising about the longest run in an NBA Finals game ever was that, for most of the quarter, it was both team's full starters. Strength against strength and the Raptors had no answer.
The Warriors were showing glimpses of their 2014/15 ‘strength in numbers’ team and assisted on all their made field goals for the quarter. Andrew Bogut even made an appearance just to cement the nostalgia for Warriors fans getting a healthy dose of lobs from seemingly anyone at any time.
Side note: those Bogut minutes really emphasise the difference in opponents between Toronto and other teams simply because the Warriors can get away with playing a traditional big. In the Houston series where they run P.J. Tucker as their nominal centre, it was kind of a shame that we couldn’t see how Demarcus Cousins would’ve punished them.
Side, side note: P.J. Tucker was on this Raptors team not too long ago and wow how deadly would he be in this team and in the Finals.
It also didn’t help the Raptors that recent father Fred VanVleet decided to shoot anywhere below 80 percent from three, returning to Earth with the rest of us mortals. Nobody on Toronto shot at least 45 percent from the floor in Game 2 which, I don’t mean to toot my own trumpet, but I noted a lot of lucky and somewhat fluky shots were going in. These same shots didn’t in Game 2.
Another thing that changed was Andre Iguodala finally hitting shots and punishing the “janky defence”. After infamously not hitting a three since the Houston series, he hit two threes including the shot to ice the game with a cheeky little celebration to follow.
Holy moly I love watching Finals Iggy, something fun always happens whether it’s strip LeBron, get blocked by LeBron or now hit a shot that no Canadian would even think he could make.
An interesting wrinkle in this game from the Raptors side was the shuffling of the rotation by Nick Nurse. In Game 2, Nurse cut down the rotation by removing McCaw (who hadn’t played since the Philadelphia series) from the rotation completely and gave the bench wing minutes to Norman Powell.
Powell jumped from 5 minutes to 21 in Game 2 and gave good minutes off the bench with a +13 and helped with their second run. It might take another reshuffle of the rotation from coach Nurse if they want to perform in Oakland for Game 3.
That adjustment might be playing smaller with Pascal Siakam at centre. If the Warriors are going to try get away with Bogut minutes and the Warriors likely not going to slow the game down to see Cousins post up one-on-one, put Siakam at centre and see how they react. If they play more Draymond, go ahead, tire him out or put him in foul trouble, he’s had nine fouls in two games thus far.
But I’d hate to end this recap the same way as Game 1 but it’s so hard to avoid it; adding Kevin Durant to this team will change everything. If Golden State has to react to Siakam at centre by going deeper into their wing depth, it’ll be boosted by adding another depth piece to put everyone down one spot on the totem pole.
But let us see. Toronto hit their shots in Game 1 and won very comfortably, in Game 2 they missed a lot and lost. What does a happy-medium look like with this team and who wins when there isn’t a crazy 20-point run?