Two Positives, Two Negatives From Warriors' Thrilling OT Loss to Raptors

Five of the Warriors' first 22 games were decided in the final minute. The sixth came Thursday night, and it had more fireworks than any of the others.

The Toronto Raptors, who had lost eight straight to the Warriors over the previous four seasons, were rolling and eager. They took it to the Warriors, who eventually gave it right back before falling 131-128 in overtime.

Here are two positives and two negatives from a game that stands to rank among the 10 best that will be played this season:


Another slow start

It's almost a habit now. The game tips off and the Warriors glide through the first few minutes, sometimes the entire quarter. Entering Thursday's game, they had trailed after one quarter in eight of their previous nine games.

With so much hype and attention around this game, would they lock in immediately? Well, no.

They were down double digits (17-6) in less than five minutes, down 18 (32-14) in less than nine. They looked like a bunch of well-conditioned strangers trying and failing to keep up with an elite NBA team.

"Our guys really didn't come ready to play in the first six, eight minutes," coach Steve Kerr said. "We weren't defending; we were turning the ball over."

Scoring 12 points off six Warriors turnovers, Toronto shot 72.7 percent in the quarter, including 60 percent from deep. The Warriors outscored the Raptors 103-93 the rest of the game, but first quarter was painful.

Jones' defensive woes continue

With Toronto now starting 6-10 Serge Ibaka at center over 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas, Warriors coach Steve Kerr surely considered starting 6-9 Kevon Looney. That's what the matchup seemed to dictate.

In a mild surprise, Kerr instead stayed with 7-foot Damian Jones as the starter. And when Jones drained a 20-foot jumper 41 seconds after tipoff, it was reasonable to wonder if there was a plan to pull Ibaka out of the paint.

It got no better when Jones opened the third quarter. Jones played 11 minutes, scoring 2 points, failing to grab a single rebound and finishing minus-20. During his time on the floor, the Warriors posted a 172.7 defensive rating. Astonishing.


Durant keeps raising his lofty bar

Kevin Durant extended his string of sensational performances with the best yet, dropping in a season-high 51 points on 18-of-31 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.

He did this under the national TV spotlight. He did it with everybody in Scotiabank Arena aware that his scoring would be the key to the Warriors staying in the game. He did it despite the primary presence of two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.

Durant scored 27 points in 19 second-half minutes. His game-tying corner 3-pointer, over Leonard's strong defense, with nine seconds left, was incredibly filthy and cold.

KD's point totals in his last four games: 32, 44, 49 and 51. Those 176 points were achieved with 54.1-percent shooting, including 40 percent from deep. He is the first person to score 140 or more during a three-game span since Kobe Bryant in 2007.

Looney and Jerebko brought it

With Jones struggling mightily and Bell making minimal impact, the Warriors needed stellar games from fellow big men Kevon Looney and Jonas Jerebko. Both delivered.

Looney delivered 7 points and a season-high-tying 10 rebounds – six on the offensive end – while adding two assists. He posted a team-best plus-18 over 26 minutes. He is that rare player that is routinely unspectacular yet highly effective.

Jerebko submitted a season-high 20 points (on 8-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep), nine rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. He was plus-12 over a season-high 33 minutes. His shooting stretches the floor and his rebounding is as solid as it is needed.

As great as Klay Thompson was through three quarters and as great Durant was throughout, there is no comeback without Looney and Jerebko.

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