The Warriors look much better with Curry back, but still fall short in loss to Raptors 121-113

Stephen Curry’s return was everything.

As Joe Vardon wrote for The Athletic, this game felt like a milestone marker because of what Curry’s first game since October of 2019 means. All those little Eric Paschall plays, the Wiggins cuts, Damian Lee’s newly discovered play making and assertive offense - they all mean something a little different now that our top end talent is back. It’s not longer looking at young, developing NBA players, now we see them as part of a meaningful basketball rotation with a path to a championship.

None of this felt possible without Curry, because it wasn’t. The frame shifts fundamentally.

The next phase of the rebuild began with Curry’s return.

“It feels like we’ve kind of emerged from the woods a little bit,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

This is the sort of competitive and punchy team that many of us predicted the Golden State Warriors were going to be when the season opened. Sure, they lost. And yes, the team shot a depressingly familiar 14 of 51 on three-pointers. But it was a lot of fun, and the Warriors were in this game until the final minute or so.

Though he was clearly rusty (6-16 from the field, 3-12 from behind the arc) Curry did a little bit of everything to finish with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. His return was both an emotional and a statistical lift. Not only was this Warriors team more competitive and focused, everything just feels different with Curry back in the fold.

Warriors had some good contributions from Marquese Chriss, who continues to cement a starting role with the team for next season. He had 17 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists but the bigger takeaway was how much of a problem he can be for defenses. The Warriors discovered this with JaVale McGee, but an athletic Center that knows how to play above the rim is going to get a lot of very good looks with the attention that Curry draws.

And then, there was this enormous block (which almost looks like goaltending):

One of the key factors coming in to this game was how well Andrew Wiggins would look next to Curry - a player who almost always gives a big boost to whoever finds themselves on the court with him. Wiggins was solid defensively, and looks to be exactly the sort of fall back option that could thrive alongside the gravity of Curry.

Unfortunately the Raptors had plenty of counters.

Norman Powell set a new career high with 37 points, Kyle Lowry played his usual white-knuckled style on his way to 26 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds, and young power player Pascal Siakam took over late.

As usual, this is just a little placeholder article and a place for us to chat. Let’s Go Warriors will be back tomorrow with a full recap and all sorts of histrionics about the return of Threesus.

Servant of Luna’s stats and Warrior Wonders

Top players:

Raptors:

Powell: (+7)

37 points 13/20 FGs 4/8 three pointers 7/7 FTs

3 rebounds 2 assists 3 turnovers 3 steals

Lowry: (+1)

26 points 6/14 FGs 4/12 three pointers 10/10 FTs

5 rebounds 10 assists 3 turnovers 2 steals

Ibaka: (-2, 3rd place)

13 points 6/11 FGs 1/3 three pointers

13 rebounds (1 off.) 3 assists 1 block

Anunoby: (+11, 3rd place)

14 points 5/7 FGs 3/4 three pointers 1/2 FTs

4 rebounds (2 off.) 3 steals

Honorable mention:

Davis: (+10)

10 points 3/7 FGs 1/3 three pointers 3/3 FTs

2 rebounds 4 assists 2 turnovers

Warriors:

Paschall: (+7)

16 points 6/10 FGs 1/4 three pointers 3/4 FTs

4 rebounds 8 assists 3 turnovers

Lee: (-1)

23 points 8/17 FGs 5/12 three pointers 2/4 FTs

5 rebounds 3 assists 2 turnovers 1 steal

Curry: (-13, 3rd place)

23 points 6/16 FGs 3/12 three pointers 8/8 FTs

7 rebounds 7 assists 1 turnover

Wiggins: (-11, 3rd place)

21 points 9/20 FGs 3/9 three pointers 0/1 FT

9 rebounds (5 off.) 2 assists 2 turnovers 1 block

Honorable mention:

Chriss: (+5)

17 points 6/14 FGs 0/1 three pointer 5/6 FTs

12 rebounds (5 off.) 4 assists 1 turnover 1 steal 2 blocks

Final stats:

Raptors:

48.2% shooting (40/83 FGs)

13/41 three pointers

28/31 FTs

39 rebounds (3 off.)

28 assists

13 turnovers

10 steals

3 blocks

Warriors:

40.8% shooting (40/98 FGs)

14/52 three pointers

19/25 FTs

52 rebounds (14 off.)

34 assists

16 turnovers

4 steals

4 blocks

Points in paint:

Raptors: 44

Warriors: 40

Fastbreak points:

Raptors: 36

Warriors: 14

Points off turnovers:

Raptors: 20

Warriors: 12

Bench points:

Raptors: 14

Warriors: 27