The Toronto Raptors won Game 1 of the NBA Finals on their home court with a 118-109 victory over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors started the NBA Finals without All-Star Kevin Durant. Durant missed his sixth playoff game since injuring his calf during Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets.
Steph Curry led the Warriors with 34 points in a losing cause.
Pascal Siakam has the inside track to the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Siakam missed only three shots all night and added 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Siakam and the Raptors fed off a jacked-up crowd that experienced its first NBA Finals appearance.
“I think we did pretty good job at home,” said Siakam. “The fans are amazing, man. 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.”
Siakam averaged 16.9 points per season with the Raptors. He increased his scoring output to 19.4 points in the playoffs. He exploded for 32 points, which equaled his point total in the previous two games.
With Siakam and Gasol scoring, the Raptors were able to pull off a win with a rough night from point guard Kyle Lowry. He scored just seven points on 2-for-9 shooting.
The Raptors bench accounted for 25 points, led by Fed VanVleet’s 15 points. They were actually outscored 36-25 by the Warriors bench mostly due to limited action from starter Jordan Bell.
The Warriors looked flat in Game 1 after an easy semifinals sweep over the gassed Blazers and a lengthy layoff between series. They came out sloppy with five turnovers in the first quarter. The Raptors played stellar defense in the first half and limited the Warriors to 21 points in the first quarter. The Warriors were down by ten at halftime and were chasing the Raptors the entire game.
The Splash Brothers combined for 55 points on 7-for-15 from three-point range. Draymond Green had an off night with a 2-for-9 clip, but he finished with another triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. A banged-up Andre Iguodala scored six points and shot blanks from beyond the arc with an 0-for-4 clip.
Without Durant in the lineup, Jordan Bell started and scored just 2 points in 12 minutes. Backup center Kevin Looney scored 9 points off the bench. Boogie Cousins returned to action for the first time since injuring his quad against the Clippers in the opening round. Boogie added three points in just eight minutes of action.
On Deck: Game 2 and Drake Antics
Kevin Durant will be sitting out Game 2 in Toronto. His calf is not ready and he will probably not play again until Game 4.
According to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the Raptors are 2-point favorites at home in Toronto. The Warriors seek to tie up the series at 1-1 before heading back to the Bay Area for two games in Oakland.
“We didn’t play very well at all and we still had a chance the entire game,” said Draymond Green “But we can still play better and I know we will.”
Green and Drake exchanged words at the end of the game. Drake, Raptors superfan and former child TV star in Canada for his role on “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, sat at his usual courtside seat. Drake attempted to troll Steph Curry by wearing a Raptors jersey with his father’s name and number. Dell Curry finished his career with the Raptors.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Warriors are -140 to win the NBA Championship. The Raptors are +120 to win their first title.