Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors- Game 2, Scotiabank Arena, 8:00 pm ET
The Raptors are 1-0 ahead in the series after an emphatic Game 1 victory against the Durant-less Warriors, and it will be exciting to see how the second game in Toronto unfolds.
With that in mind, let us analyse the scenarios for both the teams ahead of the Game 2 clash on Sunday.
The Golden State Warriors' perspective
Kevin Durant missed the Game 1 on Thursday and is not expected to show up for the Game 2 as well. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Durant travelled with the team to be around the medical staff and has not done any on-court practice yet. So with his status still in clouds, let us analyse the Game 1 turmoil that the Warriors found themselves in and the way ahead from here.
Even Stephen Curry could not become the knight in shining armour for the Warriors this time around as the Raptors outscored them in every department. However, Curry, as always, was able to cumulate his fair share of points and finished with 34 points and five assists on the night. His counterpart, Klay Thompson, pitched in 21 points and grabbed five rebounds.
However, there were only three double-digit scorers for the Warriors with Draymond Green being the third who notched a triple-double with 10 points, ten rebounds and ten assists.
Klay and Curry had minimal help from the rest of the squad, and the team shot just 5 out of 16 from the field without them. They looked in sheer drudgery and need to find their knack as soon as possible.
Not only Offence, but the defence was also substandard by the Warriors. They had Kawhi covered all the game and no doubt they did it almost okay, still he was able to accumulate 23 points. With him, all other Raptors' players had a piece of the cake as they were offered free and open looks from the deep.
Predicted Starting Lineup: Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Jordan Bell, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry.
The Toronto Raptors perspective
Pascal Siakam is no more an ancillary to Leonard as the Cameroonian put up a swashbuckling performance in Game 1. He finished with a career-high 32 points, 8 grabs and five assists.
“Siakam was brilliant,” Steve Kerr said after the game.
Siakam was the best shooter on the court with 82.4% shooting from the field. His rejection of Draymond Green in the fourth quarter was a delight to watch and signifies the form in which this man is right now.
Check out the video of it below:
Now, let us talk about the rest of the squad. Kawhi Leonard was surrounded by multiple players on almost every possession but still managed to pull off 23 points on the night with eight grabs and five assists. With him, Kyle Lowry managed to score just 7 points, but his numbers speak very less of him. Lowry dished nine assists and moved the offence very well. Defensively, he was gritty and resolute in his approach.
Fred VanVleet took off from where he left in the Conference Finals knocking one three-pointer and 4 out of 4 from the field. Also, Marc Gasol took in more responsibility, not only moving the plays but also knocking down the three-ball.
At the moment, all look flawless for the Raptors but still, this is a long series and Warriors is not a team that occasionally loses two in a row. So, they will no way take this win for granted and go in with more aggression on Sunday.
Predicted Starting Lineup: Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Danny Green.
How things might unfold
There was no support to Curry and Thomas from the rest of the squad, and I expect the Warriors to be better in the next game. With that, we can also expect them to better on the defensive end as this Raptors team is not only about Leonard; others can shoot and play as well.
The Raptors, on the other hand, have everything sorted out for them. They would be expecting a more significant show from the main man, Kawhi Leonard who looked gloomy due to all the defenders jumping on him.
The chances of Durant's return are bleak and with him not being in the squad, the Raptors have a sheer advantage again at home. I am predicting a 2-0 lead in the series for the Raptors and hopefully seeing some action in Game 3 with Durant back to the side.