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When the lights go down in the town: Warriors might have seen Oracle for last time

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The Golden State Warriors were down 15 late in the fourth quarter, and the sounds from the Oracle Arena crowd were edging from disbelief to silence. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala were bent at the waist, gassed, clutching their shorts for ballast. Steve Kerr sat on the bench, hands threaded, looking like a man who was out of ideas. You didn’t even need the scoreboard; the body language told you everything.

When the Toronto Raptors took a two games to one lead in the NBA Finals with a Game 3 win at Oracle, the Warriors reacted with a shrugging defiance. They were a compromised team about to get closer to whole. They were champions. They had overcome worse situations against better teams — none of this was a big deal.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

But after the Raptors won Friday’s Game 4 — convincingly, 105-92 — to take a 3-1 series lead, the defiance evaporated, replaced by a grudging acknowledgment. For the Warriors to win their third straight title, it’s going to take something spectacular — and something they have shown no signs of possessing.3

It has been a balky and theme-less series, but in Game 4, something happened that would have seemed unfathomable two weeks ago. The Warriors, up by four at halftime, were outscored by 16 points in the third quarter. The Raptors pressured them on defense, double-teamed Curry and attacked on offense, getting open shots and easy pick-and-roll baskets.

In short, the Raptors out-Warriored the Warriors.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“The third quarter got away from us,” Shaun Livingston said. “But I think in the first half — first quarter especially — we had a couple of stretches where we didn’t capitalize, and they were always in striking distance. That’s dangerous when you’re playing a team with that kind of firepower. They got hot in the third quarter, and it got away from us.”

This has been the leaguewide refrain since the Warriors won their first title five years ago. Every team in the league has felt the blast-furnace rush of a Golden State run and been powerless to stop it. No timeout, no play call, no defensive adjustment proved to be a reliable deterrent. And now here the Warriors are, one game from elimination, sounding as if they’re playing against a former version of themselves.

“They found a rhythm,” Draymond Green said, “and once a team like that finds a rhythm, it’s hard to get them out of it.”

The night started with such promise. Thompson, whose presence represented the physical manifestation of the Warriors’ hopes, took the court a little more than 50 minutes before the game. The Oracle Arena crowd, desperate to carry the final days of the arena to their latest possible conclusion, cheered wildly when he came out of the tunnel and again nine minutes later when he raised his arms and went back to the locker room.

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