OAKLAND (AP) — Stephen Curry did all he could to lead the injury-depleted Golden State Warriors.
It wasn’t enough.
Curry scored 47 points — a playoff career-high for the three-time champion — but the Warriors still find themselves in some postseason trouble. Missing Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant with injuries, the Warriors fell 123-109 to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night and now trail these NBA Finals 2-1.
Though it’s no consolation to Curry, his 47 points were the second-most ever by a player in a finals game loss. The only time someone scored more and wasn’t on the winning team that night was LeBron James, who scored 51 points on this same Oracle Arena floor in Game 1 of last year’s title series. Golden State wound up sweeping Cleveland.
Thompson didn’t play because of his strained left hamstring, and Durant sat out for the eighth consecutive game with a calf injury. Game 4 of this series is Friday, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see both Durant and Thompson back in the lineup for the two-time defending NBA champions. Thompson lobbied to play up until game time Wednesday, and Durant has been ramping up toward a return.
The Warriors need them.
Or else their reign might end, no matter how great Curry is the rest of the way.
It was evident from the outset that if the Warriors were going to somehow win without both Thompson and Durant in the lineup, it would be Curry carrying the load.
He darn near made it happen.
Curry scored Golden State’s first five field goals. He had 25 points and eight rebounds by halftime, the first time in his 803-game career that he put up those numbers in the first 24 minutes of a game. Midway through the third quarter, he was outscoring all of his teammates combined. He had his entire arsenal working — 3-pointers, layups, free throws. He was diving for loose balls. He even won a jump ball.
He conceded nothing.
Curry just didn’t have enough help. Or, maybe more accurately, the Raptors had too many answers.
Fred VanVleet’s desperation 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes left put Toronto up by 13, and that’s when Warriors coach Steve Kerr decided to empty the bench.
Curry’s night ended there, with the eighth-highest single-game scoring performance in NBA Finals history. He also had eight rebounds and seven assists, ending with a stat line that only James has done in a finals game.
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