Warriors Injuries Finally Catch Up With Them in NBA Finals Game 3 Loss

OAKLAND - Throughout the NBA playoffs, the Warriors have teetered along the lines of luck with their health. 

In their second game of the postseason, DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad diving for a loose ball. Two weeks later, Kevin Durant strained his calf following a jump shot Warriors' poor health is finally catching up with them. A week after that, Andre Iguodala missed a Western Conference finals game with a leg injury.

All the while, the champs continually regrouped, posting a 13-5 postseason record entering Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

Their latest blow came before then, and it might end up their most damning. In the second half of Game 2 against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney went down with a strained hamstring and a right first costal cartilage non-displaced fracture, respectively. Without the two of them and Durant on Wednesday, the Warriors lost 123-109 at Oracle Arena and fell into a two-games-to-one hole in the best-of-seven series.

For months, the Warriors largely have avoided the perils that come with a depleted roster. Now, as Wednesday's loss proved, their bad health is starting to catch up. 

"They played really, really hard and gave it everything they had and just ran into a better team tonight," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

With Thompson out, Golden State elected to start veteran guard Shaun Livingston. The plan didn't work right away, as the Raptors took an early 26-16 lead. Raptors guard Kawhi Leonard -- Thompson's primary defensive assignment -- scored 30 points on 9-of-17 from the field, as the Raptors starting five outscored Golden State 106-83. 

Thompson's absence also put more of a scoring burden on Stephen Curry. While the guard finished with 47 points, only two other players (Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala) finished the game in double figures. 

Prior to his injury, Looney had emerged as one of Golden State's best defenders, helping against rangy Raptors forward Pascal Siakam. In Looney's absence Wednesday, Siakam scored 18 points and added nine rebounds, as the Raptors shot 52 percent from the field. 

Despite the injuries, Golden State stuck around Wednesday night. When the Raptors went up 17 points in the second half, the Warriors went on a run to cut the deficit to seven behind Curry's outburst. 

"I'm very, very proud of the way our guys competed and played," Kerr said. "We didn't play well enough and we ran into a team that played an excellent game." 

For much of the postseason, the Warriors have been able to overcome their shortcomings to win crucial playoff games despite the mounting injuries. When Cousins went down in the first round against the LA, the back-to-back defending champs advanced after six games. Two weeks later, when Durant strained his calf in Game 5 of the second-round series against the Rockets, the Warriors eliminated Houston in the very next game. 

Fortunately for Golden State, help seems to be on the way.

Over the last several days, Durant has progressed in his on-court workouts and could play in 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 scrimmages Thursday, which would improve his prospects for Game 4 on Friday night. As for Thompson, there's growing optimism that he could be in the lineup Friday as well.

[RELATED: Curry brilliant, but needed more from teammates in Game 3]

The healthy Warriors, meanwhile, are confident despite facing a series deficit. 

"Everybody wants to see us lose," Warriors forward Draymond Green said. "So I'm sure people are happy they're hurt. We just got to continue to battle and win the next game, go back to Toronto, win Game 5, come back to Oracle, win Game 6 and then celebrate. Fun times ahead."

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