Golden State won’t be crowned the NBA’s three-time defending champion.
The Warriors lost their last game ever at Oracle Arena to the Raptors 114-110 on Thursday in Game 6 of the Finals.
This could be the end of a dynasty built in Oakland, as several players could go elsewhere ahead of the team’s move to San Francisco.
Here are three reasons Golden State lost to Toronto
Lack of depth
The Warriors put together one of the most intimidating starting lineups ever last summer. The addition of DeMarcus Cousins gave them five players with All-Star experience, but the bench matters in the postseason.
Speculation about the strength of Golden State’s reserves has been going on since the start of 2018-19. While it retained Kevin Durant with a one-year, $30 million deal and got a bargain on Cousins due to his recovery from an Achilles tear, the second unit’s impact diminished.
Key role players from years past like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston combined for just 13.2 points per game in the 2019 playoffs. Iguodala has struggled with calf tightness and hasn’t looked like himself as the postseason has wound down. But he is just one Warrior who has been hobbled.
Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 and was out for the series, Kevon Looney fractured his collarbone and Klay Thompson missed his first career playoff game with a hamstring injury while leaving with a knee injury in Game 6. Despite Golden State being short-handed, Steve Kerr seemed reluctant to play Cousins, who was a 2018 All-Star. His performance has simply been inconsistent since he tore his quad in the first round.
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A supporting cast composed of Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko, Quinn Cook and Alfonzo McKinnie couldn’t cut it this time around given the circumstances, especially playing against a Raptors bench which peaked at the perfect time.
Poor team 3-point shooting
This probably sounds strange, but the Warriors weren’t that great shooting the long ball in the Finals. The “Splash Brothers” did their job, though.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were fantastic for much of the series but the rest of the team was not.
By no means is Draymond Green a sharpshooter, but he struggled from deep, even if he nearly averaged a triple-double.
In the absence of Durant, some critical weaknesses were exposed.
The Raptors were too versatile
Kawhi Leonard became the face of Toronto basketball in less than a year, but the team is more than him.
The emergence of Fred VanVleet and contributions from Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka added to the team’s offensive and defensive prowess. VanVleet was essential to defending Stephen Curry and he also knocked down some crucial 3-pointers in the series.
Siakam dazzled in his first Finals appearance while Serge Ibaka provided much needed veteran experience. And then there’s still five-time All-Star Kyle Lowry to worry about.
Needless to say, Toronto had too many options to pick Golden State apart.