TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors may have a prime opportunity to jump ahead in the NBA Finals given the whack of injuries that have plagued the Golden State Warriors but they are not changing their approach to the pivotal contest.
The Warriors will be without two-time reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant and backup forward Kevon Looney for Wednesday’s game while sharp-shooting guard Klay Thompson is questionable with a hamstring injury.
Playing without such personnel could put the battered and bruised Warriors’ “Strength in Numbers” slogan to the test but the Raptors do not feel an added sense of urgency with the best-of-seven series tied at one game a piece.
“No matter the situation. We want to be the first to four, and every game is an urgent game. You’re in the NBA Finals, so it doesn’t matter,” Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry told reporters on Tuesday.
“They still have professional basketball players down there, and they’re really talented basketball players. So you still got to be ready to go out there and play your butt off and play hard.”
The timeline for Durant’s return from a calf injury remains unclear but the dominant forward, who has missed his team’s last seven games, is ramping up his exercise routine and could be ready to go for Friday’s Game Four in Oakland.
Looney is out for the rest of the series after suffering a cartilage fracture in the Warriors’ Game Two win on Sunday while Thompson’s status for Game Three is questionable.
While Toronto would love to take advantage of an injury-hit lineup, they are not getting ahead of themselves.
The Raptors, playing in the first National Basketball Association Finals in the team’s 24-year history, are instead taking a normal approach into the contest with a focus on addressing a need to score more after shooting just 37.2% from the floor in Game Two.
“It’s always a game of rhythm a little bit and you have to watch what’s happening,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.
“We talk a lot about our shot spectrum, the shots we’re trying to get.
“We have to get a certain amount of paint touches. We have to get the ball side to side. Those are things you just have to keep an eye on. I think we just had some lulls in those three areas in Game Two.” — Reuters