);
Toronto Raptors

NBA Finals 2019: What if Stephen Curry had been called for travelling in Game 2?

Stephen Curry dribbles the ball in the closing seconds of Game 2.
Stephen Curry dribbles the ball in the closing seconds of Game 2. (Getty Images)

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the Last Two Minute Report from Game 2 was the determination that prior to Andre Iguodala's game-clinching 3-pointer in the closing seconds, Stephen Curry should have been called for travelling as he lifted his pivot foot.

Had that call been made, the Raptors would have had the ball down two points with 15 seconds remaining and a timeout. According to Inpredictable.com's win probability calculator, the Raptors would have had a 20% chance of winning the game. That might not sound like a lot, but it's significantly higher than the 0.2% they had after Iguodala's shot made it a five-point game with six seconds left.

It's important to distinguish that this methodology only relies on clock, score and possession.

MORE: How will the Raptors respond in Game 3?

It doesn't know the Raptors have Kawhi Leonard, the author of one of the greatest clutch shots in NBA postseason history and statistically the best shot maker with the game on the line in the NBA this season. According to Basketball-Reference.com's invaluable shot finder, Leonard is 10-21 this season on game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final minute of the fourth quarter, including the regular season and playoffs.

Of course, it also doesn't know that the Warriors are the team defending with the likes of Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala on the floor to potentially deny or contest Leonard.

While it's possible he could have gone for the win, the more likely result of a made shot would have been overtime as all 10 of his makes have come from inside the 3-point line (yes, including the Game 7 dagger to beat the Philadelphia 76ers).

Most game-tying or go-ahead shots in final 1:00 this season

  • Kawhi Leonard: 10-21 FG
  • Damian Lillard: 8-30 FG
  • Bradley Beal: 7-16 FG
  • Zach LaVine: 7-20 FG

Here are all 10 of those makes by Leonard this season:

Not only has Leonard sank more of those big shots than anyone else, he's done it at an incredibly efficient clip as his field goal percentage of 48% is far greater than the league average of 36% on those same shots.

Perhaps the outcome would not have changed if Curry was called for travelling. Perhaps the Warriors still would have won and the NBA Finals would be all tied up 1-1 heading into Game 3.

MORE: Raptors wasted opportunities in Game 2

Or maybe not. Maybe Kawhi would have hit his 11th big shot of the season to lift the Raptors to a win. Maybe the Raptors would be up 2-0 entering Game 3.

Add this to the long list of missed opportunities for the Toronto Raptors.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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