The Toronto Raptors are one win away from winning their first NBA title.
The Raptors got off to a miserable start in Game 4, but they rallied back to get a big-time win at Oracle Arena, beating the Golden State Warriors by a final score of 105-92. Kawhi Leonard stole the show once again, this time with a game-high 36 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
The Raptors will now have an opportunity to close the series out in Toronto on Monday, when they host the Warriors for Game 5. Before they do, here are some takeaways from a thrilling Game 4...
A game-changing third quarter
The Raptors basically became the Warriors in the third quarter.
After scoring 42 points in the first half, the Raptors exploded for 37 points in the third quarter alone. They shot 12-for-22 from the field, 5-for-7 from the 3-point line and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Raptors in the period with 17 points. He set the tone by draining a pair of 3-pointers to start the third quarter, his first pulling the Raptors within one point and his second giving them their first lead of the game. Leonard then closed the quarter with a heavily contested pull-up over Klay Thompson.
He was, quite simply, spectacular.
Kawhi heats up in the 3rd, scoring 17 of his 31 PTS! #WeTheNorth #NBAFinals- NBA (@NBA) June 8, 2019
🇺🇸: ABC 🇨🇦: TSN pic.twitter.com/hfkeKv8fgB
The Raptors hounded the Warriors defensively in the third quarter as well, holding the two-time defending champions to 21 points on 7-for-20 shooting from the field and 3-for-9 from the perimeter. The Raptors even forced five turnovers, which they were able to turn into nine points.
Toronto's two-way play helped them turn a four-point deficit into a 12-point lead, giving them the momentum they needed to win the game and take a 3-1 series lead.
Kawhi Leonard does it again
In addition to a dominant third quarter, Leonard scored 14 much-needed points for the Raptors in the first quarter. He was Toronto's only source of offence to start the game, as his teammates combined to score three points on 1-for-13 shooting from the field.
The combination made for an ugly shot chart and the least efficient quarter of the Finals so far, with the Raptors scoring 0.68 points per possession, according to NBA.com's John Schuhmann.
Leonard didn't do much in the second and fourth quarter, but he didn't have to because other players stepped up for the Raptors. It was Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry in the second quarter, followed by Pascal Siakam in the fourth.
It was this kind of night for Serge Ibaka:
3-course meal from Chef pic.twitter.com/t0fYYAgzeV- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 8, 2019
For the first time since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Ibaka scored in double figures. His 20 points, which he got to on 9-for-12 shooting, made him Toronto's second-leading scorer for the game.
As TSN's Josh Lewenberg noted, the Raptors are now 8-0 in these playoffs when Ibaka scores 10 or more points.
Ibaka was a force defensively as well - after blocking a game-high six shots in Game 3, he was responsible for two of Toronto's four blocks in Game 4.
Block party continues pic.twitter.com/ecgaVLBNd3- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 8, 2019
All in all, the Raptors outscored the Warriors by 13 points in Ibaka's 21 minutes on the court, tying him with Leonard for the second-best +/- in the game.
Ibaka has come and gone in these playoffs, but he's stepped up when the Raptors have needed him most.
The return of Klay Thompson
You wouldn't know Klay Thompson is dealing with a hamstring injury based on how he played in Game 4.
After missing Game 3, Thompson came out of the gates strong with 14 points in the first half. Not only did he knock down a pair of 3s during that stretch - the only 3-pointers made by the Warriors through two quarters of play - Thompson took advantage of being guarded by a smaller defender, using his size to score over Kyle Lowry in the post.
Ohhhh @KlayThompson is feelin' it 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9EyiwYNElI- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 8, 2019
Thompson went on to score a team-high 28 points, doing so on 11-for-18 shooting from the field and 6-for-10 from the 3-point line.
The problem for the Warriors is they didn't get much out of anyone else. Curry scored 27 points, but he missed 13 of his 22 field goal attempts and seven of his nine 3-point attempts. The Raptors were also able to keep him off the free throw line, limiting him to eight attempts after he made 14 trips in Game 3.
Other than Thompson and Curry, Draymond Green (10) and Kevon Looney (10) were the only Warriors to score double digits. Without Kevin Durant, they just haven't had the firepower to go toe-to-toe with this Raptors team.
Teams to take a 3-1 lead in the Finals have a 33-1 record all-time. The only team to come back from that deficit? The Cleveland Cavaliers, who did it against the Warriors in 2016.
The only time there's been a 3-1 comeback in the Finals. pic.twitter.com/j6S0Wq7tW3- ESPN (@espn) June 8, 2019
The Raptors have a perfect opportunity to close the series out in front of their home crowd in Game 5, but reinforcements could be on the way for the Warriors, with Durant possibly returning from a right calf strain that has sidelined him for the last month.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.