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NBA Finals

NBA Finals 2019: Inside Golden State's historic run that doomed the Toronto Raptors in Game 2

For years now, the Golden State Warriors have been famous for delivering decisive haymakers in the third quarter. They use them to wipe away big deficits. They use them to turn tight games into blowouts.

In Game 2, they used one to turn the tide in the NBA Finals and build a large enough cushion to withstand the inevitable Toronto Raptors push to get back in the game.

MORE: Raptors reflect on what went wrong in third quarter

Here's a closer look into the opening 5:40 of the third quarter that could ultimately determine the 2019 NBA champion.

Biggest run in Finals history

It's one thing to go on a run like that in a run-of-the-mill regular season game in February.

It's quite another to do it on the biggest stage the sport has to offer.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 18-0 run to start the third quarter was the biggest run to begin any half in NBA Finals history. If you include Golden State's final points in the first half, the 20-0 run spanning the half was the longest by any team at any point in a Finals game since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976-77.

Raptors can't buy a bucket

When Fred VanVleet finally hit a 3-pointer with 6:20 left in the third quarter to end the run, it mercifully put an end to a dreadful start to the half for the Raptors. They went 0-8 from the field during that run with five turnovers. Pascal Siakam (0-3), Kawhi Leonard (0-2), Marc Gasol (0-2) and VanVleet (0-1) all missed.

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While the Raptors couldn't buy a bucket, the Warriors shot 8-12 over that stretch with all eight buckets coming off a pass. That third quarter set the tone for the rest of the game for Golden State, as it assisted on all 22 of its makes over the second half of Game 2.

Klay Thompson takes over

There's no denying that the Warriors' decisive run was a total team effort. Everyone defended, everyone moved well without the ball, everyone set good screens... everyone bought in.

But if there's any player to single out, it's Klay Thompson, who scored or assisted on six of the Warriors' eight buckets over that stretch.

MORE: Rating every player's performance in Game 2

Here's a breakdown of Golden State's makes during the run:

  • Andre Iguodala 18-foot jump shot (assisted by Thompson)
  • Stephen Curry 11-foot floater (assisted by Thompson)
  • Andre Iguodala 3-pointer (assisted by DeMarcus Cousins)
  • Draymond Green layup (assisted by Thompson)
  • Thompson layup (assisted by DeMarcus Cousins)
  • Thompson 3-pointer (assisted by Draymond Green)
  • Thompson layup (assisted by DeMarcus Cousins)
  • Draymond Green layup (assisted by Andre Iguodala)

Securing the glass

For the game as a whole, the Raptors held a 23-0 advantage in second-chance points and a 15-6 advantage in offensive rebounds. It's all the more impressive considering the degree to which they were dominated on the glass over the nearly six minute run to start the third quarter.

During the run, the Raptors did not have a single offensive rebound and were outrebounded 7-2 overall. Andre Iguodala, who will be forever remembered for hitting the game-clinching shot in the closing seconds, secured more rebounds over this decisive run (3) than the entire Raptors team.

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