The Golden State Warriors tied the 2019 NBA Finals 1-1 with a 109-104 Game 2 victory over the Raptors on Sunday night. It was, in many ways, one of the most improbable, and impressive, victories in the entire Warriors’ five-year run. 

Golden State looks like a MASH unit with injuries piling up left and right. Kevin Durant is already out. Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney left the game due to injury. Toronto had the Warriors on the ropes, and just couldn’t end it. Now it’s a fight again as the series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 on Wednesday. 

Here are the big takeaways from Golden State’s Game 2 win:

Just pure championship guts 

There is no other way to explain this victory by the Warriors, whose defining characteristic, beyond even the shooting, continues to be their incredible fight and grit and flat-out unwillingness to ever quit on a game or on themselves. No Kevin Durant. Klay Thompson goes out in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Kevon Looney out with a chest contusion. Stephen Curry under the weather and getting hounded all over the court. 

The Warriors had no business even being in this game with the way things went through almost the entire first half, let alone winning it, but a 20-0 run over the second and third quarters was vintage Golden State when its back was against the wall. This is what they do: erase a game’s worth of mistakes in one epic run. This was the most impressive win of these playoffs. Maybe of this entire Warriors’ five-year run. This game, and series, was slipping away, and the Raptors just looked and felt like the better team. 

The only people who weren’t starting to think that were the players in the blue jerseys. They believe in themselves endlessly and unconditionally. And it’s that belief that has them heading back to Oakland with home-court advantage on their side and Kevin Durant perhaps ready to return. 

Hats off to DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins just had his moment. If you thought he was gravy on this team — and for a while, he probably was — he just became an absolutely vital piece, and he lifted the Warriors onto his shoulders and played the most important game of his life when Golden State was hanging by a thread. 

Cousins finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks in 27 minutes. This was a guy who was supposed to be out for the playoffs with a torn quad. A guy who missed almost an entire calendar year with a torn Achilles. Until this season, he had never played in a single playoff game. He came to Golden State to prove his value on a championship team, to show he was more than an empty-numbers guy, that his impact could be meaningful in the most meaningful of ways, and he proved all that and more in Game 2. 

Cousins was everywhere. He defended for all he was worth. He refused to be out-fought for rebounds. He made brilliant passes. He hit a 3. He made all four of his free throws. He put the ball on the floor and got to the bucket and finished when Toronto was suffocating the Warriors on the perimeter. Just a remarkable game for Cousins. Career-defining. 

What a missed opportunity for the Raptors

Toronto had complete control of this game. In the first half, the Raptors looked like a better team by miles. They had a chance to step on the Warriors’ throat and take total control of this series, and they let the Warriors hang around. Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and 14 boards and was the best player on the floor. Golden State had no business being within five points at halftime. Some of that is the Warriors just being made of championship iron, but the Raptors will regret a lot of sloppy plays and missed shots, particularly in the second half. 

Overall, Toronto got a lot of really good looks. Especially late. Golden State was doubling Kawhi and scrambling like crazy to cover the back side, but the Raptors still wound up with a ton of good looks and ultimately shot 37 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point range. That’s good enough when your opponent is on the ropes gasping for air. Gotta deliver the knockout. Toronto didn’t do it, and now it’s a fight again. 

Draymond keeps his word

Draymond said after Game 1, in which Pascal Siakam roasted him and everyone else on the Warriors’ roster, that he needed to be better and that he would be in Game 2. Well, he kept that promise. Green was everywhere, finishing one assist shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He threw in two steals and a block for good measure. He did his best to switch onto Kawhi whenever possible and made it tough for Leonard, particularly in the first half. He just fought. Like Draymond does. All told, Draymond and Cousins combined for 28 points, 20 rebounds and 15 assists. That is big-time production for a frontcourt that was outscored 75-18 in Game 1. 

A Warriors passing clinic

What do you do when Kevin Durant is out, and Steph Curry is getting relatively shackled, and you basically don’t have a single player capable of creating consistent one-on-one offense? You move and pass the ball like crazy. All told, the Warriors tallied 34 assists on 38 made shots. 

Even factoring in a few shots that were credited as assists that were basically one-on-one plays, that is a huge stat for a team that is suddenly completely reliant on creating offense with its ball and player movement. Any time the Warriors bog down, the long-limbed, athletic, ultra-aggressive Raptors pounce and start suffocating them. Nobody tried to play hero for the Warriors. They believed in their ball movement, and though it took a while, it took its toll and won them the game. 

Recap all the highlights and news from Game 2 below:

How to watch Warriors vs. Raptors Game 3

  • Date: Wednesday, June 5
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: Oracle Arena — Oakland, California
  • TV channel: ABC
  • Streaming: WatchESPN
  • Live stats: GameTracker
  • Odds: N/A at this time

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