Game 4 takeaways: Raptors dominate 2nd half, push Warriors to brink
Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Toronto Raptors overcame Klay Thompson's return and a double-digit first-quarter deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors 105-92 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Here are some takeaways from the contest that moved Toronto to within one win of its first championship:

Leonard leads 3rd-quarter turnaround

Steve Russell / Toronto Star / Getty

It has often been the third quarters of games when the Warriors' superiority reaches its most devastating levels, as was the case in Game 2 when they overturned a five-point halftime deficit with an 18-0 run to open the frame.

Kawhi Leonard made sure in Game 4 that history didn't repeat itself as the Raptors stepped on the court down four after the first half.

Toronto outscored Golden State 37-21 in the third period - fuelled by 17 points from Leonard - to take a 12-point lead into the final frame. And though it wasn't exactly Warriors-esque, the Raptors opened the second half with a pair of cold-blooded Leonard triples for a 6-0 run and their first lead of the game.

"Kawhi Leonard came out and hit two big eff-you shots to start the half," Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said postgame. "There's no defense for that. There are no schemes for that. That's two big-boy shots that he came out of the half with, and that just kind of let you know how we were going to approach the third quarter and the rest of the half."

Leonard finished the contest with 36 points on 11-of-22 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds, four steals, two assists, a block, and no turnovers in 41 minutes.

Warriors don't have enough shooting to beat Raps' D

Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty

It likely sounds ridiculous to suggest the Warriors don't have enough scoring threats, as Golden State still has two of the greatest shooters ever in Stephen Curry and Thompson even when Kevin Durant is sidelined.

However, things look rather bleak beyond the Splash Brothers. Draymond Green, for all of his incomparable two-way talents, is shooting 20.8 percent from deep in the playoffs. Before Andre Iguodala hit a couple of big treys in Game 2 of The Finals, he hadn't knocked down a 3-pointer since the second round. Shaun Livingston, DeMarcus Cousins, Alfonzo McKinnie, and Jonas Jerebko have combined to shoot 17-of-59 from downtown this postseason.

To put it in perspective, consider this: With Thompson getting a needed rest late in the third quarter, and the Raptors turning all of their attention to Curry with their box-and-one defense, the broadcast crew was in agreement that Kerr needed to respond by inserting Quinn Cook.

Kerr obliged, as he really had no other choice given the circumstances. But while Cook has been a serviceable rotation player for the Warriors, and has knocked down nearly 42 percent of his career 3-point attempts, you're likely in trouble if he's your only chance of discouraging your opponent from using a box-and-one in the NBA Finals.

The brilliance of the Splash Brothers is usually enough against most teams, even on a night when Curry struggled to locate his range. The Raptors are not most teams, particularly on the defensive end where they have three perimeter players capable of both guarding Curry and Thompson straight-up and chasing them around of a maze of screens.

Curry and Thompson combined for 40 shots Friday, but the trio of VanVleet, Danny Green, and Kyle Lowry once again did a phenomenal job of preventing that number from ballooning, while ensuring a sizeable chunk of those field-goal attempts (21) came inside the 3-point line.

Between that perimeter work, the length of Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka inside, and the Warriors' lack of shooting from their supporting cast, there's just no avenue for Golden State to beat Toronto's defense without Durant to open the floor.

Toronto's screen-roll action puts game away

Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty

The most ravishing pick-and-roll duo in this series was supposed to be Curry and Green, but the Raptors put the game away by dissecting the Warriors with their own combos in the fourth quarter.

Toronto answered every mini-run down the stretch with offense that was as simple as it was mesmerizing.

Whether it was Ibaka or Siakam - or even Green at one point - setting the screen, the Warriors had no answer for the Raptors' speed and slick passing. Possession after possession resulted in high-percentage opportunities at the rim or wide-open jumpers.

Mix in some Leonard isolations and, despite utilizing a variety of defensive coverages, Golden State just couldn't keep up with Toronto's diverse, high-IQ attack down the stretch.

Quote of the game

"It's not over yet, so I can't say that we're better" - Leonard, when asked what makes the Raptors better than the Warriors

What to watch for

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The most interesting aspect of this series will be how the Warriors respond to the adversity of being down 3-1 and carry themselves entering Game 5.

With the Raptors just one win away from sending an entire nation into a frenzy, the team remains stoic.

Meanwhile, the usually even-keeled Thompson was celebrating a second-quarter bucket - by mimicking Sam Cassell's famous routine usually reserved for memorable daggers - which merely gave his team an eight-point lead in a series they already trailed.

If reality hasn't set in for the Warriors yet, it will on Monday. They have no margin for error against a veteran Raptors team that can taste the champagne.

Finals MVP if series ended today

1. Kawhi Leonard

2. Pascal Siakam

Game 4 takeaways: Raptors dominate 2nd half, push Warriors to brink
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