Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors was arguably the most action-packed contest in the series so far. From Stephen Curry’s outstanding performance, all the way to Kyle Lowry’s mini altercation with a Golden State minority owner sitting courtside, we’ve rounded up some of the wildest moments from Wednesday night’s memorable matchup.
Iconic metal band Metallica kicked things off with an amazing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner prior to tipoff.
Metallica’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals was very metal. 🤘 https://t.co/2NfA3GKbSP
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) June 6, 2019
All the players were zoned in moments before the start of the ballgame, but perhaps none more than Raptors star Kawhi Leonard. He was so focused on the task at hand, that he blatantly denied teammate Norman Powell from a pre-game fist bump. Hilariously, Kawhi even appears to explain himself to Powell after the moment of awkwardness.
Not now Norm lol pic.twitter.com/sFaoXPVTQs
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) June 6, 2019
With Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Kevon Looney all forced to sit this one out due to respective injuries, the defending champs were extremely undermanned. Dubs superstar Stephen Curry realized the gravity of the situation and gladly obliged, scoring 25 huge points in the first half to set the tone early for Golden State.
🇺🇸: ABC 🇨🇦: Sportsnet pic.twitter.com/dDUpzXG3si
— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2019
The former back-to-back MVP winner eventually finished with a playoffs career-high 47 points on 14-of-31 shooting and 6-of-14 from distance in what was definitely one of his most memorable performances in his career.
Game 4: Friday (6/7), 9pm/et, ABC & TSN pic.twitter.com/087fQ1U4hk
— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2019
Things got heated as the game progressed, and at one point, a then presumed Warriors fan sitting courtside shoved Kyle Lowry as the latter dove to the stands for a loose ball. For his transgression, the fan was escorted out of the building moments after, and rightfully so. But wait…
A fan was escorted out for shoving Kyle Lowry after a collision courtside.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 6, 2019
As it turns out, however, this was no ordinary fan. According to Ina Fried of Axios, the man in question is Mark Stevens, who is actually a part-owner of the Warriors.
It was the Raptors who would emerge victorious in this one, 123-109, with Leonard leading the charge for Toronto, as he accounted for 30 points (on 9-of-17 shooting), two three-pointers, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks. One of his most memorable baskets on the evening was this emphatic and-1 jam over Warriors big man Jordan Bell.
Kawhi got hit in the face and barely flinched. Machine.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 6, 2019
It was a total team effort from the Raptors, though, with a number of noteworthy individual performances coming from the likes of veteran wing Danny Green. The 31-year-old logged 18 points on 6-of-10 from three-point territory. Below are the highlights of all six of his treys, with three of them coming in the first period.
Green was also active on the defensive end, as he turned back the clock to produce a tremendous chase-down block on Quin Cook’s layup attempt.
Danny Green is EVERYWHERE! pic.twitter.com/ZIvGoAe1pG
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 6, 2019
Following the contest, Green shared how he received some advice from the great Shaquille O’Neal prior to Game 3.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 6, 2019
Toronto big man Serge Ibaka also stepped it up for his team, as he blocked a total of six shots throughout the contest, and in the process, set a record for the most blocks off the bench in a Finals game. The former two-time top shot-blocker of the season was obviously loving every moment of his big game.
— Board Man Gets Paid – ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 6, 2019
Nevertheless, at least a couple of his blocks were contentious. Here’s one on Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, which with the benefit of replay, we are all able to see that it was indeed a clear goaltending violation.
This was so clearly a goaltending. Refs missed it pic.twitter.com/XOrdHzm311
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 6, 2019
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (11 points, three three-pointers, three three steals) also had his moments, but perhaps none more crucial than his dagger three with just a minute and a half remaining in the fourth and final frame.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 6, 2019
This was a huge win for the Raptors, and their supporters made sure that this victory would live long in their memory. After the contest, some of the travelling fans belted out the Canadian nation anthem, “O Canada,” in the stands as they joyfully celebrated their win.
Raptors fans celebrate Finals Game 3 win over Warriors by singing O Canada pic.twitter.com/lr4szmecoZ
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 6, 2019
With the Raptors taking a 2-1 lead in the series, the momentum has now shifted back to their side once again. Game 4 in Oakland is scheduled for Friday night, and Toronto definitely have their sights on another away victory.
As for the Warriors, there is a chance that both Durant and Thompson will suit up for Game 4, so this is something that will definitely work in their favor. Nonetheless, even if these two starters end up sitting out another game, there will be no room for excuses for the Dubs.
Golden State will need to dig deep and hope for another Steph Curry outburst in what is virtually going to be a must-win game for them. Despite how talented and dominant this team has been over the past few years, heading to Toronto for Game 5 with a 3-1 deficit might just be too deep a hole to get out of for the defending champs.