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Three reasons why Warriors lost to Raptors in NBA Finals

Stephen Curry

LA, June 14: The Golden State Warriors will not be crowned the NBA's three-time defending champions.

The Warriors lost their last game at Oracle Arena to the Toronto Raptors 114-110 on Thursday in Game 6 of the Finals.

This could be the end of a dynasty built in Oakland, as several players could go elsewhere ahead of the team's move to San Francisco.

Here are three reasons why Golden State lost to Toronto.

Lack of depth

The Warriors put together one of the most intimidating starting lineups ever last offseason. The addition of DeMarcus Cousins gave them five players with All-Star experience, but the bench matters in the postseason.

Speculation about the strength of Golden State's reserves has been going on since the start of 2018-19. While they retained Kevin Durant with a one-year, $30million deal and got a bargain on Cousins due to his recovery from an Achilles tear, the second unit's impact diminished.

Key role players from years past like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston combined for just 13.2 points per game in the 2019 playoffs. Iguodala has struggled with calf tightness and has not looked like himself as the postseason has wound down. But he is just one Warrior who has been hobbled.

Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 and went out for the series, Kevon Looney fractured his collarbone and Klay Thompson missed his first career playoff game with a hamstring injury while leaving with a knee injury in Game 6. Despite Golden State being short-handed, Steve Kerr seemed reluctant to play Cousins, who was a 2018 All-Star starter. His performance has simply been inconsistent since he tore his quad in the first round.

A supporting cast composed of Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko, Quinn Cook and Alfonzo McKinnie simple could not cut it this time around given the circumstances, especially playing against a Raptors bench peaking at the perfect time.

Poor team three-point shooting

This probably sounds strange, but the Warriors have not been that great shooting the long ball as a team. The 'Splash Brothers' did their job, though.

Entering Game 6, Stephen Curry and Thompson accounted for 60.3 per cent of Golden State's makes from behind the arc. They shot a combined 40.3 per cent from range while the rest of the team were just 33.6 per cent.

By no means is Draymond Green a sharpshooter, but his career-low 22.6 per cent clip from deep did not do his team any favours, even if he is nearly averaging a triple-double. In the absence of Durant, some critical weaknesses have been exposed.

The Raptors were too versatile

Kawhi Leonard became the face of Toronto basketball in less than a year, but the team are more than him.

The emergence of Fred VanVleet and contributions from Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka added to the team's offensive and defensive prowess. VanVleet was essential to defending Curry and he also knocked down some crucial three-pointers in the series.

Siakam dazzled in his first Finals appearance while Ibaka provided much-needed veteran experience. And then there is still five-time All-Star Kyle Lowry to worry about.

Needless to say, Toronto had too many options to pick Golden State apart.

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Story first published: Friday, June 14, 2019, 10:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 14, 2019
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