Game 2 Preview: Raptors vs Warriors
Golden State Warriors (0-1) @ Toronto Raptors (1-0)
When: Sunday, June 2, 8 P.M. ET
Where: Scotiabank Arena
Leading into tonight’s game:
- Injury report: For the Raptors, OG Anunoby (appendectomy) is listed as probable. Jordan Loyd (coach’s decision) is listed as out. For the Warriors, Kevin Durant (right calf strain) is listed as out.
- Home floor: The Raptors host the Warriors for Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Thanks to Thursday’s Game 1 victory, the Raptors have tied a franchise record by winning five consecutive playoff games, something they also did earlier this postseason when they won four straight against the Orlando Magic in Round 1 followed by Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2.
- Recent History: The Raptors came out strong in the team’s first NBA Finals game in franchise history and walked off the court with a 118-109 victory and a 1-0 series lead against the Warriors. Toronto used solid defence to weather a rough-shooting first quarter, leading by four after one, 10 at the half, and seven points heading into the fourth. In the final frame, the Warriors wouldn’t get any closer than seven as the Raptors answered each attempt at a run by Golden State. Toronto shot 51 percent in Game 1, holding the Warriors to 44 percent as Pascal Siakam led five Raptors in double figures with 32 points. Kawhi Leonard added 23 points and Marc Gasol scored 20. The Warriors were led by Steph Curry who scored a game-high 34 points, while Klay Thompson added 21 points and Draymond Green had a 10-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double in the loss.
- Extra spicy: Pascal Siakam made his first ever Finals game one to remember, scoring a playoff career-high 32 points in 40 minutes. “Well, Siakam was brilliant,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “He was hitting shots from everywhere.” Not only was Siakam hitting from everywhere, he shot with ridiculous accuracy, making 14-of-17 shots, including 2-of-3 three-pointers and both of his free-throw attempts. He didn’t just score, either. Siakam also added eight rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocked shots in the win. Siakam was asked about his own basketball journey and how it felt to have that kind of performance on the NBA’s biggest stage in his Finals debut. He said that the work he’s put in to get to this point as well as knowing that he has more room to improve makes it fun. “It's amazing,” he said. “And it just proves that if you put the work in, man, it’s something that is so cliché most of the time, but that's the story of my life.”
- Working it out: The Raptors knew that their defensive effort would be crucial heading into this series with the Warriors. Golden State’s sharpshooting combined with the speed at which they get down the floor after makes and misses alike meant Toronto’s defence would need to be on point. The Raptors have been exceptional on the defensive end of the floor in the first three rounds of the 2019 postseason. After holding the Warriors to 44 percent shooting in Game 1, Toronto is now 11-3 when holding its opponent under 45 percent shooting in the postseason. Coincidentally, Toronto’s 41.8 percent opponent field goal percentage is the lowest since the Warriors held opponents to 41.7 percent shooting during their 2015 run. “They remind me of us in a lot of ways,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said during a media availability on Friday afternoon. “When you've got a team that can push the ball from a lot of different positions, make plays from a lot of different positions and plays fast, you've got to be vigilant every possession.”
- Doing it all: Kawhi Leonard shot 5-for-14 from the floor in Game 1 for 23 points, but despite a sub-par shooting night by his standards, he was still a team-best +11 in the game thanks in large part to his quick decision making under pressure. In addition to scoring, Leonard contributed across the board with eight rebounds, five assists and a steal, but it was his ability to read the defence and make the correct read that helped his teammates get open looks they were able to convert. “He’s done a great job facilitating and finding guys,” Danny Green said. “Breaking down the defence, swinging the ball. Pascal [Siakam] got some open ones at the rim [from Kawhi]. Marc [Gasol] got some open ones. And we got some open ones on the perimeter too.” Leonard has 21 assists in his last three games, all Raptors wins. “I come into the game just trying to win,” Leonard said. “If I have my mind set on just trying to score the ball, yeah, [the extra defensive attention] could be difficult. But I'm trying to make the right play out there, and obviously if there are two people on me, somebody is open.” Leonard is averaging 30.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game in the postseason.