Despite the final score, the start of the 2019 NBA Finals was a competitive championship opener, as the Toronto Raptors took a 1-0 series lead in a 118-109 victory over the two-time defending champions Golden State Warriors. Following the win, the Raptors come into tonight’s game with hopes of taking a commanding 2-0 series lead, Sunday night, in the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada.
After scoring 23 points on 5-14 shooting from the field in Game 1, one can expect more of an impact on the offensive end from Kawhi Leonard. However, with Leonard still battling through an unknown injury, the chances of Leonard having another quiet night is more realistic for Toronto.
However, the unsung hero from Game 1 was Raptors’ third-year forward, Pascal Siakam. In his first Finals appearance, Siakam had a game for the ages recording 32 points on 14-for-17 shooting from the field, eight rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in the win.
In addition to Siakam’s heroic performance, Marc Gasol also played a huge impact with 20 points and seven rebounds.
For the first time in their historic run, the Warriors find themselves on the losing end of the spectrum after Game 1 of the NBA Finals. With Kevin Durant still out with an injured calf, Golden State will need more players to step up in his absences.
Outside of a 34-point performance from Stephen Curry and 21 points Klay Thompson, no other player scored more than 10 points in the loss. Despite recording 10 rebounds and 10 assists, it was a subpar triple-double from Draymond Green, as the Warriors big man scored 10 points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field.
To avoid a 2-0 hold before heading back to the Bay Area, the Warriors must limit the number of turnovers and play better transition defense heading into Game 2. Golden State gave up 24 fastbreak points during Thursday night loss. With their back up against the wall and Andre Iguodala still expected to play, look for the Warriors to play better defense to come out victorious over the Raptors tonight.
To stay up to date on all things NBA and more, be sure to subscribe to You Can Argue That Sports and receive notifications of new posts and podcasts by email.