Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors hit back to square series with Toronto Raptors

Defending champions had been down by 12 points at one stage before winning 109-104 in Game 2

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, right, and Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala stretch for the ball in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors won 109-104 to stretch the series. Reuters
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, right, and Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala stretch for the ball in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors won 109-104 to stretch the series. Reuters

Andre Iguodala sank the game-clinching 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining and defending champion Golden State pulled level in the NBA Finals by defeating Toronto 109-104 on Sunday.

The Warriors, seeking a third consecutive title and fourth in five seasons, held off a late Raptors charge to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1 as the scene shifts to California for games three and four on Wednesday and Friday.

Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 25 points while Stephen Curry added 23 and Draymond Green contributed 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 34 points for Toronto and added 14 rebounds while Raptors reserve Fred VanVleet netted 17 points.

Golden State trailed by 12 points in the second quarter, but scored the first 18 points of the third quarter and led by as much as 72-59 before Toronto rallied late, holding the Warriors scoreless for more than 5:30 minutes down the stretch only to fall short.

"We did a great job physically, way better than the first game," Warriors centre DeMarcus Cousins said. "We've still got to correct some mistakes but a solid effort all around."

Victory was vital for Golden State. Of 34 teams that fell behind 0-2 in the NBA Finals, only four rallied to win the crown.

The Warriors have now won at least once on the road in 23 consecutive play-off series.

Kyle Lowry and Danny Green made 3-pointers to pull the Raptors, in the first finals of their 24-season history, from a 13-point deficit to within 92-88 early in the fourth quarter.

But Quinn Cook answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite a 14-6 Golden State run that stretched the Warriors' lead to 106-94 with 5:39 to play.

Toronto trimmed it to 106-98 and Curry received a technical foul for an errant ball throw that set up three Leonard free throws, pulling the Raptors within 106-101 with 68 seconds remaining.

Danny Green sank a 3-pointer to lift the Raptors within two with 26 seconds remaining but Iguodala answered for the cold-shooting Warriors with a clutch 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds remaining for the final points.

Rapper Drake and former US President Barack Obama were among celebrities in attendance.

Courtside-seated Drake mellower after taunts or yells at Curry, Thompson and Green in the opener.

Updated: June 3, 2019 08:23 AM

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