No Klay, no KD, no Looney, Demarcus Cousins coming back from a quad injury and Iguodala's calf not at full strength, it was no surprise the Golden State Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors in Game 3.
But the Warriors did everything they could to try and pull off the impossible with Steph Curry going for 47 points, seven assists and eight rebounds. It looked doable in the first half as Curry was demanding a double-team off every screen yet still finding his shot and a quick flurry to end the half brought the game to within eight points.
But there just weren't enough options down the stretch for the home team. The Raptors had the blistering hot Danny Green to carry them for a stretch with his six threes, Serge Ibaka with six blocks and Fred VanVleet with another ridiculous three to close the game up again.
Whereas the Warriors had to find minutes in Jordan Bell, Alfonso McKinnie and Jonas Jerebko. The latter Jerebko proved how much he should be playing in a Finals game when Siakam took him off the dribble for an easy layup. Kerr even tested the Bell/Cousins frontcourt duo for some fourth-quarter minutes. This tandem played an hour together in the regular season.
A silver lining for the Warriors, if there is one, is Andrew Bogut and his passable minutes. He finished the game with a team-high zero plus/minus and managed to halt the Kawhi pick and roll with Draymond Green as they both trapped him high.
But focusing on the Warriors injuries and lack of depth takes away from how good the Raptors were. All key players who played at least 20 minutes shot 50% or better from the field and they took care of business down the end.
Kyle Lowry seems to have handed the playoff struggles to Serge Ibaka now as he doesn't even look at the rim most of the time when he gets the ball. Lowry had 23 points with nine assists and three steals as well as taking turns with VanVleet for guarding Curry.
Kawhi Leonard had 30 points and was his textbook self, calm and collected but in control. The only time you saw him show any weakness was when Draymond Green took an iffy charge on a layup.
He countered this a few possessions later with one of the greatest pivots I've ever seen. He looked like he just watched one of those old Michael Jordan VHS tapes on how to score in the post and copied it move for move.
Heading into Game 4 is another completely different animal, the pressure is definitely back on Golden State as they can't go down 3-1 (nobody ever returns from that deficit...).
Klay is likely going to return and I don't think anybody knows when KD will return or even if we'll see him in a Warriors uniform again. And they won Game 2 without KD but they'll need to find some minutes at the centre position with Looney down.
If Bogut can step up again as he did in this game or Cousins makes progress with his quad injury and conditioning, maybe the hole at the big rotation isn't as pronounced. But with Looney likely out for the rest of The Finals they're going to be playing from behind in the big rotation.
As I've said in all the other Finals recaps, adding Kevin Durant to this team is the best thing they can do: add another piece to their big rotation and another scorer to attract attention from Steph and Klay.
I don't want to say it's a must-win for Golden State but it's a you-better-win situation heading into Game 4.
Side note: Golden State's former head athletic trainer Chelsea Lane left last offseason for the Atlanta Hawks after the Warriors didn't pay her what she wanted. She had been lauded for her work on the team, most notably Steph's ankle issues before leaving.
This is the first season she has been gone and it's not exactly a great sign for the new head trainer, Drew Yoder, that Durant, Cousins, Iguodala and Klay all suffered muscle injuries in these playoffs. Maybe there's something there, maybe there isn't, just doesn't look great right now.