The 2019 NBA Finals is seeing the beginning of a back-and-forth after the Toronto Raptors prevailed one more time against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 this Wednesday, June 5. Both teams have strong reasons to win the series. The Warriors want their three-peat, while the Raptors mean to maximize their first Finals participation.

While Game 1 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals was arguably a textbook encounter, the next two would drive home the message that in the face of determination from both Golden State and Toronto, home-court advantage is not much help.

Ask the Warriors, beaten in Oakland by the Raptors, 123-109.

Injured roster weakness

CBS Sports has it that the Toronto Raptors brutally exploited the break of bad luck on part of the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 that left them short of some of their best players. Klay Thompson could not bounce back from his bad landing last time, and was dressed in street clothes on the Warriors bench with Kevin Durant, easily the worst possible loss that their team could suffer at this critical juncture. Even Kevin Looney was not up for duty with his chest contusion. That could explain Toronto’s victory with their first double-digit final-score lead in this series.

Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr actually noted that during pregame that Thompson tried to make a case for letting him play in spite of his pain.

He would have some company if that had gone through. Andre Iguodala, who had shot the win-ensuring three-pointer for Golden State in Game 2, was himself troubled by a strained leg, while DeMarcus Cousins had problems with his quadriceps. Ultimately, however, Kerr insisted that Thompson sit the third game out. But without him on a vital defensive role, the Warriors could not effectively stop the relentless scoring blitz from the best of the Raptors players.

Stephen Curry 'wins' while his team loses

The injuries sustained by significant members of the Golden State Warriors roster meant that, according to NBC Sports, the team must rely on their last active ace, Stephen Curry. It would be difficult as he too was nursing a sprain in his taped hand. But he rose to the challenge and shot a massive 47 points of the total Warriors score, a highlight for this year’s NBA Finals.

That still was not enough for Curry to carry his team against Toronto. Not when Kawhi Leonard’s 30 and Kyle Lowry’s 23 together trumped him. It does serve as a powerful reminder that Stephen Curry is an NBA great here and now, even if he follows LeBron James in achieving a high score in a Finals game where his team still lost.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals will remain at Golden State home-court in Oaklands Oracle Arena, this Friday on June 7. The Warriors might need to field Thompson and possibly even Durant for this one, or else the Raptors could finish by the fifth game.