VanVleet gets stitches as Raptors extend NBA Finals lead to 3-1

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VanVleet gets stitches as Raptors extend NBA Finals lead to 3-1

Fred VanVleet drives toward the basket against Ibby Djimde in the second half of Friday's game against Southern Illinois. The Shockers won 56-45 and advance to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

Fred VanVleet drives toward the basket against Ibby Djimde in the second half of Friday's game against Southern Illinois. The Shockers won 56-45 and advance to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

Fred VanVleet drives toward the basket against Ibby Djimde in the second half of Friday's game against Southern Illinois. The Shockers won 56-45 and advance to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

Fred VanVleet drives toward the basket against Ibby Djimde in the second half of Friday's game against Southern Illinois. The Shockers won 56-45 and advance to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors on Friday, 105-92, to take a 3-1 series lead.

Former Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet recorded eight points, six assists, and four rebounds in 29 minutes of limited action, due to injury. With 9:35 left in the game, VanVleet took an elbow from Golden State’s Sean Livingston, leaving a cut around his right eye. ESPN’s Dorris Burke reported in-game that VanVleet received seven stitches and did not have a concussion. He also lost a tooth. The former NCAA All-American returned to the bench to watch the conclusion of the game, but did not play.

Even in limited minutes, VanVleet did break the Wichita State-NBA Finals scoring record in a series. He’s scored 51 points thru four games. He finished the night with the team’s second-best plus/minus rating. The Raptors outscored the Warriors by 12 while he was on the floor.

For the first time this series, someone other than VanVleet scored in double-figures off the bench. Toronto’s Serge Ibaka scored 20 points, while Golden State’s Kevon Looney scored 10 points of his own.

After scoring a playoff career-high 47 points in Game Three, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry struggled to find rhythm, scoring a quiet 27 points on 9-22 shooting, including 2-9 from three-point range. Klay Thompson returned to the lineup after missing the last game, and scored a team-high 28 points.

All series, VanVleet’s defense has been an x-factor against Curry. Coming into this Game Four, Curry had just shot 34.1 percent (15-44) from the field, and 30 percent (6-20) from three-point range while VanVleet was guarding, or on the floor. With him off the floor, the All-NBA point guard was lighting up the Raptors defense, shooting 59.1 percent (13-22), including 53.8 percent (7-13) from three. On Friday, VanVleet’s effort once again bothered Curry; one reason for his off-shooting night.

Up next, the Raptors can wrap up the series in Toronto on Monday. A win would lock up the franchise’s first ever NBA title. Tip off is set for 8:00 p.m. CT, and will be broadcasted on ABC. Toronto opens up as 3.0 point favorites in that Game Five.