NBA Finals 2019: 3 Talking points from Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors - Game 1

24 years in the making and they did not disappoint.
24 years in the making and they did not disappoint.

Since 2015, the Warriors were 4-0 in Game 1s of the NBA Finals and were riding a solid 12-game Game 1 winning streak in the playoffs. Well, that was before Raptors decided to make their first ever NBA Finals games memorable in more ways than anyone could possibly imagine.

The hosts led the majority of the game and never took their foot off the gas, eventually coming through with a 118-109 statement win over the mighty Warriors. The Raptors were unflinching in their approach throughout the game as they gave their dynamic home crowd one more reason to cheer on the streets all night.

"We know that they're human. They're a great basketball team, talented players, high basketball-IQ players," Leonard said. "You just got to go out there and compete, take the challenge."

The Golden State superteam did seem human when even the addition of DeMarcus Cousins into the Game 1 lineup against Toronto didn't bear fruits as they'd expected.

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The city of Toronto is hosting the NBA Finals for the first time since the Raptors joined the league as an expansion team in the year 1995. And boy are they lighting up the Jurassic Park on a nightly basis!

Let's take a look at a few key takeaways from this rapturous Toronto win over the dumbstruck 2-time defending champs.

#1 Pascal Siakam shows why he deserves the MIP award this year

Pascal Siakam held true to his nickname
Pascal Siakam held true to his nickname

Spicy P cooked the Warriors singlehandedly on a night when Leonard was struggling to find his footing. The Cameroon native shot a blazing 14-of-17 (82%) from the field and finished his first ever Finals game with a playoff career-high total of 32 points.

In his 40 minutes on the court, the 25-year-old pulled down 8 boards (3 of which were on the offensive glass), dished out 5 assists and swatted the ball away twice; all this production with just 2 turnovers throughout the game.

"I think we did pretty good job at home," Siakam said. "The fans are amazing, man. I just want to say that. From coming out for warmup to the end of the game, it was just the support and then going crazy. I've never seen anything like that."

While Leonard ended with an uncharacteristic 23 points (on 10-12 from the FT line), the Warriors had no answer whatsoever for the finalist of this year's 'Most Improved Player' award.


#2 Raptors' cramping defense was vaguely reminiscent of the East Finals

Raptors won four straight against the Bucks to advance to the Finals.
Raptors won four straight against the Bucks to advance to the Finals.

After losing the first two games against Milwaukee, Nick Nurse' squad dialed up the defensive intensity and willed through for four wins in a row. When the Raptors took the floor for Game 1, they made sure Golden State had to hustle for each point they put on the scoreboard.

Toronto forced the defending champs into committing 17 turnovers, 6 of which came from a certain Draymond Green who had just recently found his long-lost form.

"We didn't play very well tonight at all and we still had a chance the entire game," said Green who recorded his fifth triple double of the season. "And it was a great atmosphere. This is a team or a city, a country, that hasn't seen a finals ever here, so we expected it to be a great atmosphere and it was. But we can still play better and I know we will."

The Raptors shot over 50% from the field while restricting the visitors to 34-78 (43%) on the night. The Splash Brothers were restricted to a combined 16-of-35 from the floor.

#3 Stephen Curry continues to lead from the front as Drake's courtside antics reach a fever pitch

Golden State doesn't have homecourt advantage in the Finals this year.
Golden State doesn't have homecourt advantage in the Finals this year.

Despite Toronto cramping Curry for contested threes off screens, the 2-time MVP managed to put together a game-high total of 34 points including a perfect 14-14 show from the foul line. With the four made three-pointers in this contest, Curry now has the most three-pointers in NBA Finals history with 102 to his name.

He has been the one true leader for this resilient Warriors side ever since Durant exited the picture with a calf strain injury. Steph is averaging 27.3 ppg in this year's playoffs and looks focussed enough to bag the coveted Finals MVP hardware that has evaded him thus far.

Entwined with the Raptors' surge to fame has been rapper Drake's courtside antics that have managed to get under the opponent's skin consistently. This series will seemingly be no different.

After GSW's game 1 loss, Drake and Green seemed to have a war of words where it clearly looked like the infamous courtside superfan called Draymond 'trash'.

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Edited by Raunak J
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