2019 NBA Finals: Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors
The Finals Stat, Game 1: Siakam shoots Raptors to victory
Golden State forced the ball out of Kawhi Leonard's hands, and Pascal Siakam stepped up
TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors remain the only team that the Golden State Warriors have not beaten this season.
In their first NBA Finals appearance, the Raptors handed Golden State their first Game 1 defeat in these five straight trips to the championship round. With five Raptors in double figures, Toronto had its second-best shooting game of this postseason (59.1 percent effective field goal percentage).
And one stat stood out from the rest as the Raptors took a 1-0 series lead with a 118-109 victory.
|OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = % of available offensive rebounds obtained
82.4 percent — Pascal Siakam’s field-goal percentage in Game 1.
Siakam’s 14-for-17 on Thursday was the best shooting game (regular season or playoffs) against the Warriors on at least 15 field goal attempts over these five years they’ve been going to The Finals. That’s 838 total instances of a player taking at least 15 shots against Golden State, and Siakam now stands atop the peak.
Most of Siakam’s damage was done down low. His 18 points in the paint weren’t a high-water mark for these playoffs; he had 20 in two different games against the Orlando Magic in the first round. But here they accounted for almost half of the Raptors’ total (40) and more than half of what the Warriors amassed (32).
Both teams were shooting jumpers early. In fact, the Raptors’ first 11 shots came from outside the paint. They made four of their first nine 3-point attempts, but scoring that way wasn’t sustainable.
The Warriors weren’t going to let Kawhi Leonard beat them off the dribble, trapping him in pick and rolls and even sending a second defender at him on various isolations. So Siakam stepped up his aggressiveness and attacked 1-on-1.
Siakam took advantage of some resulting mismatches. His first bucket came when he backed down Stephen Curry. He drained a couple of open 3-pointers when the Golden State defense collapsed on a teammate’s drive. And he scored almost as many points in the first six seconds of the shot clock (11 on 5-for-5 shooting) as the Warriors did as a team (13).
But Siakam also wasn’t afraid to attack one of the league’s best defenders one-on-one. According to Second Spectrum tracking, Siakam scored 16 of his 32 points with Draymond Green as his defender.
He was 4-for-4 at the rim when a Warriors defender was there to protect it, according to Second Spectrum. In total, he shot 9-for-10 in the paint and 5-for-7 from the outside.
Siakam’s 32 total points marked the fourth-highest scoring game of his career (247 total games). He was the first player to score at least 30 points on 80 percent shooting or better in a Finals game since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 2004. And his 11 consecutive field goals were the most in any NBA Finals game during the last 20 seasons, ahead of a four-way tie between LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and yes, Shaq.
It was an SLN (Shaq-like-numbers) night for the Kia Most Improved Player Award favorite, and a performance unlike anything else these Warriors have allowed.
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