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Raptors shut out noise over Warriors injuries to take control of series

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OAKLAND – Up until the very last minutes before the ball went up, the Toronto Raptors didn’t know exactly who they would be playing in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

What they were playing for?

Never in doubt: to take control of the series.

To put the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors on their back heels. To take advantage of the stars aligning and the basketball gods shining.

They did know who they wouldn’t be playing. Kevon Looney, the Warriors’ versatile big man was out for the series with a collarbone injury. Kevin Durant, the two-time defending Finals MVP was out for at least one more game because of his strained calf.

But Klay Thompson? The big shooting guard and defensive ace had a strained hamstring that was going to make him the most game-time of game-time decisions.

But Raptors head coach Nick Nurse didn’t care. Wasn’t having it.

“It doesn’t impact it very much,” Nurse said before the game when asked about the Warriors’ uncertain lineup status.

“I think we’re at the point of this series where we got to get out and guard these dudes, right?

“Whoever’s out there. We got to get playing our defence, right, quit worrying so much about special plays, this, that, and the other thing. We need to get into the ball. When you’re guarding it, be great at guarding the ball. When your man doesn’t have it, help, make the rotations, If somebody goes to help, help the helper. Fly out at shooters and block out. We got to do a better job of that if we want to win.”

The message? Take control of your destiny. Don’t get caught up in what the Warriors’ injury situation may or may not mean to your chances. Don’t wait for doors to be opened — knock them down.

The word came about 30 minutes before the tip that Thompson would miss the first........

© Sportsnet