The Golden State Warriors proved that they were the two-consecutive defending NBA champions when they bounced back from their first defeat in the series to equalize against the Toronto Raptors last Sunday, in Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals. They scored the exact number of points as in Game 1, but this time it was the home team that fell short of perfection, 109-104.

Toronto’s victory in the NBA Finals Game 1 seemed like a textbook home-court victory, added with the high of making historical achievements for the team. But one never counts out Golden State, as their equalizer win on June 2 proves.

Third-quarter breakaway

One would think the Warriors were more smarting from their Thursday loss last week rather than itching for payback, the way they performed during Q1 of Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals according to CBS Sports. The Raptors capitalized on Golden State's defensive gaps in the first half, with the Warriors falling back on good free throws to ensure the point gap did not get too discouraging. Then before halftime rang they cut Toronto’s lead down to 5 points. And when the Warriors blitzed the start of Q3 with 18 straights points without any reply from the other side, the tide turned.

At this point, the Raptors’ own shortcomings began to show through. Pascal Siakam, on which hinged the lion’s share of Toronto’s Game 1 scoring, only made 12 this time while having Kawhi Leonard lead the team on points (34).

Only Fred VanFleet and Kyle Lowry had similar double-digit contributions. Against them, Warriors Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry both gave twenty-something points (25 and 23 respectively), while a critical misjudging by Toronto to leave Golden State SF Andre Iguodala lightly guarded in the final seconds of game time led to him landing a three-pointer that crushed all hope for the Raptors to even tie for overtime.

Injuries with victory

It was a well-earned equalizer win for the Golden State Warriors, prevailing over the Toronto Raptors on the second game in their house. But there are concerns as the defending NBA champions fly back to Oakland to await the other team on the next four Finals games at Oracle Arena. It is already a distinct possibility that Kevin Durant might have to sit out the best-of-seven series as he recovers from his calf injury.

As USA Today tells it, Klay Thompson is nursing his hamstring following a bad landing that forced him to exit during Q4. Reserve center Kevin Looney also bowed out of playing the second half when he got a chest contusion. Warriors coach Steve Kerr is not too worried, particularly thanks to three players from the bench that took the court as the game wound down: Shaun Livingston, Andrew Bogut, and Quinn Cook.

The 2019 NBA Finals Game 5 between Golden State and Toronto is on Wednesday, June 5.