It’s been a balky and theme-less series, but in Game 4 something happened that would have seemed unfathomable two weeks ago. The Warriors, up by four at halftime, were outscored by 16 points in the third quarter. The Raptors pressured them on defense, double-teamed Stephen Curry, and attacked on offense, getting open shots and easy pick-and-roll baskets. In short, the Raptors out-Warriored the Warriors.
It’s a daunting thing, that championship DNA. If you’re not careful, you can suffocate under the weight of the possibility of that dominance. Many playoff opponents have fallen victim to a franchise loaded with stars who, when they are rolling, are seemingly invincible.
Yet one thing was abundantly clear at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night: Toronto had no intention of wilting under the pressure of the championship pedigree of their undermanned opponents.
The Golden State Warriors implemented the theft of these NBA Finals under the bright lights of the Scotiabank Arena in front of 19,800 incredulous witnesses wearing blood-red shirts and the stupefied daze of a crowd that just had their wallets swiped. This is what coach Steve Kerr’s team does when it discovers its collective rhythm, feeding off a savage defense that clamps down with impunity, extracts turnovers and then transforms them into transition artistry that douses the spirit of even the most resilient opponents.
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