The Raptors came away as victors of Game 1. Did they get a leg up on the Warriors or was it just holding serve at home?
The deflection bowl, a series with two teams full of long, defensive-minded players has seen its first victor; the Toronto Raptors. They won comfortably 109-118 in their first ever NBA Finals match.
Heading in, many people thought it’d be a Kawhi Leonard vs Steph Curry showdown, but with only 23 points on 36 percent shooting from Kawhi, the Raptors had to look elsewhere.
And elsewhere they found: After struggling in the Eastern Conference Finals, Pascal Siakam scored 32 points on 14-17 shooting and an offensive rating of 164 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors had no answers at all.
Except they kind of did. Siakam started early getting most of his scores or assists while Steph Curry was guarding him, easy pickings.
Yes, he eventually saw Draymond Green guarding him and had some really fluid post moves, including his signature spin move, but a lot of bounces and bank shots went his way.
Siakam was in the top third percentile of fouls drawn for his positional grouping for the season per Cleaning the Glass but only had two in this game. He just kept making his shots.
Someone else who also made his shots was Steph Curry. From the get-go, it looked like he was going to take over: he had three triples in the first quarter and was getting cozy at the free-throw line. He ended with four threes but hit all his 14 free throw attempts.
Andre Iguodala seemed to get hit in the calf at the end of the game which might impact the rest of the series defensively if it’s a long-term thing, but on offence, he’s going to have to start making shots. The last time Iguodala hit a three was in Game 6 against Houston.
That’s two series ago. But neither team can be too confident or down after this game, the Raptors held serve in winning a home game and Golden State lost to a team that made a lot of lucky shots down the end (I’m looking at you Fred VanVleet).
If Golden State is to make any adjustments soon I’d say their best bet is to add Kevin Durant.
Seriously, they were this competitive in an away game without one of their two best players, what would it look like with him?
Another player to draw attention on offence and complete the ‘Hamptons Five’ line-up with he and Draymond at the big positions.
Who does Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka guard out of those two? I guess Draymond, but he’s rarely out of the play and always moving. My sincerest best of luck to staying on the court.
Anyway, not to look too far ahead. Toronto won Game 1, they’re in prime position to win another home game and if KD isn’t healthy for Game 3 and beyond, they might be in prime position to win their first ever NBA Finals. What a time to be an NBA fan?
The two-time defending champions and one of the greatest teams ever might have their backs against the wall.