Roaring Raptors take Game 1 over Warriors

Rappler.com
Roaring Raptors take Game 1 over Warriors

AFP

The NBA Finals newcomers come out charging to upset the defending champions in the opener

 

 

 

TORONTO, Canada – Toronto fans came out loud and proud, and they had every right to be as the Raptors – playing in their first ever NBA Finals – proved they belong in the big stage.

The Raptors turned back the Golden State  Warriors, 118-109, to take Game 1 of the best-of-seven title series at Scotiabank Arena in Ontario on Thursday, May 30 (Friday, May 31, Philippine time).

Pascal Siakam set the tone to finish with a career-best 32 points for the Toronto side that had timely responses for every Warriors rally. 

The 25-year-old Cameroonian forward made 14-of-17 shots from the floor and also grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 5 assists and had a couple of blocks.

Kawhi Leonard fired 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists and Marc Gasol also fueled the Raptors’ strong start to finish with 20 markers and 7 boards. 

Fred VanVleet, the backup guard who had been a standout in the playoffs, had 15 points and Danny Green scored 11 as they helped the Raptors keep the defending champions at bay.

The Warriors came within 3 points, 90-87, with over 10 minutes to got but a 7-0 spurt –  5 coming from Siakam – put the Raptors back up in double figures, 97-87.

From there, Leonard and his crew kept the Warriors at a safe distance. 

Steph Curry – who set a record during the game by becoming the first player in NBA Finals history to make 100 three-point field goals – led the Warriors with a game-high 34 points.

Klay Thompson added 21 points, while Draymond Green had another triple-double of 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists but the Warriors could not solve Toronto’s swarming and aggressive defensive work.

“We’ve got a lot of bodies,” Siakam said. “We’ve got guys just willing to move and play defense. We use it to our advantage. I think we’re doing a pretty decent job. We made some mistakes but for the most part we played solid.”

The Warriors are seeking their third title in a row and fourth in 5 seasons while the Raptors are in the first NBA Finals in their 24-season history.

Golden State, playing without injured star forward Kevin Durant, welcomed back center DeMarcus Cousins, who suffered a torn left quad muscle last month in only the second playoff game of his nine-year career.

Cousins finished with 3 points in 8 minutes.

Raptors rap-star superfan Drake sat courtside wearing an old Toronto jersey of Dell Curry, Stephen’s dad who once played for the Raptors, and an elastic band covering his left-arm tattoos of Curry and Durant.

The Raptors, who swept the Warriors in the regular season, will shoot for a 2-0 series lead in their homecourt again on Sunday, June 2 (Monday, June 3, Philippine time). – With a report from Agence France-Presse

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