OAKLAND, Calif. — For every amazing shot in a career night by Stephen Curry on his home court, Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Danny Green kept finding dazzling answers of their own.
The Toronto Raptors have the momentum again in these back-and-forth NBA Finals.
Leonard scored 30 points on a night Curry went off for a playoff-best 47, and the Raptors grabbed a pivotal finals road win by beating banged-up Golden State 123-109 on Wednesday night for a 2-1 series lead.
Curry also had eight rebounds and seven assists but couldn’t do it all for the two-time defending champions, down starters Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and key backup big man Kevon Looney because of injuries.
“They outplayed us. They deserved it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I’m very proud of our effort, and now we just got to bounce back and hopefully get back here in here Friday night and hopefully get a little healthier and get some guys back.”
The only time someone scored more than Curry and wasn’t on the winning team that night was LeBron James, who scored 51 points on this same Oracle Arena floor in Game 1 of last year’s title series. Golden State wound up sweeping Cleveland.
Lowry contributed 23 points with five 3-pointers and Green had 18 points with six 3-pointers after Pascal Siakam got the Raptors rolling early as Toronto shot 52.4 percent and made 17 3-pointers.
“I give our guys a lot of credit. I thought we answered a lot of runs,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Each time they chipped, we kind of answered back. And that’s kind of what you got to do if you’re going to keep your lead.”
Thompson missed his first career playoff game after straining his left hamstring late in Game 2, while Looney is out the rest of the series after a cartilage fracture on his right side near the collarbone that also happened Sunday. Durant, a two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP, is still out because of a strained right calf.
Golden State hopes to get healthier by Game 4 on Friday night back at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors trailed 96-83 going into the final quarter. Curry’s three free throws at 10:37 made it a seven-point game before back-to-back baskets by Serge Ibaka.
Siakam scored 18 points and established the momentum for Toronto from the tip, hitting his first three shots and setting a tone for a defensive effort that stayed solid without the foul problems that plagued the Raptors in Game 2.
Golden State greatly missed not only Thompson’s touch from outside but also his stifling defense.
Nurse challenged his team to produce more defensive stops in order to get out in transition — “make them miss more,” he said. Ibaka produced six blocked shots in the effort.
“We’re at a point in the series we’ve got to get out and guard these dudes,” Nurse said.
Curry shot 14-for-31 including 6 of 14 on 3-pointers while making 13 of 14 free throws in his sixth career 40-point playoff performance.
Nurse pulled out a box-and-one to try to stymie Curry in Golden State’s 109-104 Game 2 win, then the Raptors made Curry’s short-handed supporting cast try to beat them this time — and it sure worked.
All five Toronto starters scored in double digits and Fred VanVleet added 11 off the bench.
The Raptors began 10-for-14 and scored 12 early points in the paint.
Curry’s 17 first-quarter points matched his most in the period for the postseason. He also did so on April 27, 2014, against the Clippers.
Durant went through extensive workouts both Tuesday and Wednesday at the practice facility with the hope he would do some scrimmaging today. While the Warriors weren’t scheduled for a regular practice today, coach Steve Kerr said some of the coaches and younger players might be called upon to give Durant the full-speed court work he still needs before being medically cleared to return.
He missed his eighth straight game since the injury May 8 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets.
Thompson was hurt in Game 2 on Sunday and was to be evaluated by the training staff before tipoff. He didn’t end up warming up on the court.
Thompson did some running and shooting earlier in the day but Kerr said the Warriors weren’t going to play him “if there’s risk” of further damage at this stage of the series. Thompson is averaging 19.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists this postseason, including 23.0 points through the first two finals games.