Warriors fend off Raptors comeback

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant soars for a dunk against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant soars for a dunk against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Golden State almost throw away 27-point half-time lead as Toronto slam unfair calls

TORONTO • The Toronto Raptors were left frustrated by the officiating after they fell just short of completing a stunning comeback against the Golden State Warriors.

Kevin Durant hit a 19-foot jumper with 21.3 seconds left on Saturday, allowing the National Basketball Association (NBA) champions to hold off the Raptors for a 127-125 win despite a 27-point half-time lead.

He finished with 25 points, Klay Thompson a team-high 26 and Stephen Curry 24 for the Warriors, who extended their road winning streak to 12 ahead of an NBA Finals rematch with the Cavaliers in Cleveland today.

DeMar DeRozan had 17 of his game-high 42 points in the second-half comeback for the Raptors.

The Warriors built an 81-54 half-time lead after shooting 71.1 per cent from the field, recording 16 assists and committing only one turnover.

Toronto, coming off a 34-point win over Cleveland, chipped away constantly and had a chance to go ahead in the final minute.

With his team down one, DeRozan missed an 18-footer with 37 seconds to go, and Durant then converted Curry's ninth assist that gave Golden State some breathing space.

C.J. Miles misfired on a contested three-pointer with 11 seconds to go and a chance to draw the Raptors even, before Curry sealed the Warriors' second win in two nights to start a five-game trip with two free throws with 2.5 seconds left.

Had the Raptors won, they would have achieved a rare feat. Going into Saturday's game, NBA teams were 988-8 when leading by 25 or more points at half-time in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

They came close despite what they perceived to be poor officiating and what Warriors coach Steve Kerr described as "probably the best offensive half of basketball I can ever remember".

A frustrated DeRozan said it seemed like all three officials were against them.

The hosts - second in the Eastern Conference - were particularly upset when centre Jakob Poeltl was adjudged to have fouled Curry when he blocked his shot.

"Being out there it felt like we played five on eight," he said.

"Some of those calls were terrible, period."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2018, with the headline 'Warriors fend off Raptors comeback'. Print Edition | Subscribe