Warriors injury boost ahead of game four
The Golden State Warriors were light out on the floor for game three, and some gaping holes in defence and offence were clearly visible as the Toronto Raptors mapped out a route to victory. This is something that the Warriors were hoping to remedy for the next game tonight, and they will be boosted by the expected return of Klay Thompson.
Their swinging guard was sorely missed last time out as the Raptors ran through the gaps left where the Warriors defence would usually stand. Thompson’s return will give them benefits in the dressing room as well as on the court, with an acknowledgement that having only Draymond Green and Steph Curry as fit-and-firing regulars is not enough in the NBA Finals.
While the Warriors arguably have the finest starting five in the league when they are available, DeMarcus Cousins seems to have been rushed back from injury in the last couple of games, and his contribution has not yet been at the high level that they require right now. In other circumstances, he may well have been eased back, but now it seems as if they have little choice but to hope that he returns to form quickly.
With everyone else on court, they had barely missed Kevin Durant, but right now, one of their superstars is absent when a star turn is exactly what they need. Curry usually goes quieter when Durant plays. However, Curry was left to do everything on Wednesday night as he fired in 47, and they still lost by a margin of more than ten points.
The return of Durant would be huge for the Warriors, and a worry for the Raptors, as he is the player who could dominate Kawhi Leonard much easier toe to toe. However, he has now been ruled out of game four, and nobody seems quite sure when he might get back out on court. He has been absent since early May with a calf injury sustained in round two against the Houston Rockets.
They might have also learned from the struggles of Cousins in these last few days as he has not fired on all cylinders, while the Raptors have no such issues to keep them awake at night.
Thompson said that he feels re-energised after sitting out game three, and hopes to bounce back straight away. With the next game at the Oracle Arena, and game five in Toronto, the Warriors will feel that they need to secure a win here tonight.
Words: Noah Hart