In a season full of firsts, the Toronto Raptors checked off a few more bucket list items. First NBA Finals game? Check. First NBA Finals win? Check. Leading an NBA Finals series? Check.
With all the hoopla surrounding Saturday’s Game 6 clincher over the Milwaukee Bucks, along with the media frenzy that accompanies any NBA Finals, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see a letdown game against the defending champs. But these Raptors continue to show they belong and have now strung together their second(!) five-game winning streak in these playoffs.
If it still doesn’t seem real, listen to our latest episode. Your Toronto Raptors are three wins away from a championship. It’s real and it’s fantastic!
On The Latest Episode:
On a historic evening when the focus was justifiably on the first NBA Finals game played outside of the U.S., it was a Cameroonian-born basketball neophyte that stole the show! Pascal Siakam became the first player in the last 15 Finals’ to score 30+ on 80% shooting and the first player in the last 20 Finals’ to score on 11 consecutive field goals. Half of his 32 points were scored while guarded by defensive dynamo, Draymond Green. Spicy was 9-of-10 in the paint, tipping in his only miss.
Kyle Lowry was outscored by five of his teammates, but as has been the case throughout these playoffs, his impact was felt on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors are now in uncharted territory — both figuratively and physically. Throughout this dynastic run, they’ve never started the Finals on the road and never lost Game 1.
An argument can be made that Marc Gasol was the MVP from last night. His deflections disrupted the Warriors offensive flow and his threes and post-ups kept the Raptors offense in rhythm.
Jurassic Park is old news. This is now Jurassic Country with Jurassic Park-like locations popping up all over the country. The support has been inspiring and an indication of how far the game of basketball has come.
It certainly helped all the supporters that the Raptors never lost control of the game. Whether it was a timely drawn charge from Lowry, a step-back three from Kawhi Leonard (I almost made it through without mentioning his name), or a friendly rim, the Raptors had an answer for each Golden State run.
Toronto was able to win despite some lapses in ball awareness, defensive rebounding (and subsequently, second chance points), being overly aggressive defense (leading to some foul trouble).
Game 1s are typically a time for feeling out the opponent. The Raptors were caught off-guard with Orlando, better prepared with Philadelphia, and ran out of steam in Milwaukee. Against Golden State, the Raptors were aptly prepared with some areas that can still be improved. You couldn’t have asked for a better result! Game 2 will be the ultimate Warriors Ablaze game, so we need to bring our A (eh?) game — both players and fans!
1:15 - Ghost Pepper
7:55 - Captivating a country
15:45 - Staying focused
20:55 - Second win guarantee?