NBA Finals Game 1 Rap

Holly MacKenzie -

It was over when…Pascal Siakam tipped in his own missed shot with 54.6 seconds remaining to make it a nine-point game. Kyle Lowry and Alfonzo McKinnie traded three-pointers to close the game and the Raptors walked off the court with a 118-109 Game 1 victory to take a 1-0 series lead in the 2019 NBA Finals.

Getting things started: Though both teams had a rough shooting start in the first quarter of Game 1, the Raptors managed to shoot 39 percent from the floor, besting Golden State’s 30 percent shooting in the quarter to take a four-point, 25-21 lead after the opening 12 minutes. Toronto attempted 14 three-pointers in the first quarter, connecting on five as Marc Gasol led the Raptors with two made threes and eight points. Steph Curry led all scorers with 11 points.

Finding a rhythm: The Raptors quickly shook off the shooting rust from the first quarter in the second, making 65 percent of their shots, including 60 percent of their three-point attempts. The Warriors also shot much better than the first quarter, but their 44 percent shooting still didn't match the Raptors who outscored Golden State 34-28 thanks to a well-rounded team effort with eight players scoring in the quarter. Pascal Siakam led the way with seven points and Marc Gasol added six as the Raptors closed the half on a 19-8 run to take a 59-49 lead into the break. Marc Gasol led all scorers at the half with 14 points while Pascal Siakam added 12. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 13 points.

Holding on: The Warriors have made a habit out of making third-quarter runs. Though Golden State came out from the locker room looking to be aggressive, the Raptors countered every run the Warriors tried to make, thanks in large part to Pascal Siakam who had 14 points in the quarter on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting. Kawhi Leonard also scored 10 points in the quarter for the Raptors. When Golden State cut the lead to four on a Kevon Looney tip in layup with 55.1 seconds remaining in the quarter, Patrick McCaw was there to hit his only shot of the game, a three-pointer with 33.6 seconds remaining in the third to bump Toronto’s lead back to seven after three, 88-81. 

Closing time: The fourth quarter was more of the same as the Warriors did their best to string together a run and the Raptors found a way to respond every time. When Kyle Lowry picked up his fifth foul and had to go to the bench with 8:11 remaining, things could have gone sideways for Toronto, but veterans Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard each connected on three-pointers to keep the lead in double-digits. Down the stretch, it was a bucket from Marc Gasol, a fadeaway from Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam seeming to be everywhere, on both ends of the floor that helped Toronto maintain it's lead as Lowry remained on the bench until he checked back in with 2:35 remaining. In the end of the game, it was Siakam, of course, who was able to get his own rebound and score, keeping the game out of reach for the Warriors, and reaching a new playoff-career high himself.

Raptors player of the game: You could say that Pascal Siakam’s first career Finals game was a good one. Siakam played 40 minutes on Thursday, finishing with a playoff career-high 32 points —surpassing the 30-point career-high he set during Game 3 against the Orlando Magic in the first round. He shot a blistering 14-for-17 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. Siakam also added eight rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocked shots.

Underrated Raptors player(s) of the game: Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists and a steal in 43 minutes of action. He shot 5-for-14 from the floor, 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, and 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. The Raptors were a +11 with Leonard on the floor. Marc Gasol scored a postseason-high 20 points in 30 minutes, shooting 6-for-10 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Gasol added seven rebounds, an assist and two steals. Fred VanVleet came off the bench to score 15 points, playing 33 minutes and made 5-of-8 field goals. VanVleet also guarded Steph Curry for much of his time on the floor.

That’s a rap…

“Well, Siakam was brilliant, he was hitting shots from everywhere.” - Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on Pascal Siakam

By the #’s…

51… Percent shooting for the Raptors, 44 percent shooting for the Warriors.

39… Percent shooting from beyond the arc for both teams, with the Raptors shooting 13-for-33 and the Warriors shooting 12-for-31.

17… Both teams scored 17 points off their opponent's miscues, the difference being the Warriors had 17 turnovers and the Raptors had 10.

34… Points, five rebounds, five assists for Steph Curry to lead the Warriors on 8-for-18 shooting, including 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and 14-for-14 form the free-throw line.

They said it…

"Yeah, you just want to come out and get a win. We understand it’s a long series. It’s going to take a concerted effort. We just need to continue to keep our focus. I thought that we set the tone in the first quarter with a defensive-minded effort, and we were able to get a win. It’s one win. Nobody’s overreacting. One step closer to where we want to go. We’ve got to go out on Sunday and lace them up again." - Fred VanVleet on the importance of setting the tone in Game 1 at home

“Freddy did a really good job. Freddy worked hard defensively and played a lot of minutes on Curry. Curry had 34 [points] but Freddy made him work for them.” - Nick Nurse on Fred VanVleet

“It was pretty crazy in here tonight. We’ve got the best fans in the NBA and they’re just showing it every single night. We really appreciate it.” - Kyle Lowry on Raptors fans

“Man, it's amazing 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. Just going out there every single night, working hard to get to this level, and knowing that I have so much to learn and I have so much room to improve and grow. I think that's what make it's fun. And for me just kind of falling in love with the game and wanting to get better and wanting to learn. Moments like this definitely shows that I'm going to continue to be myself, continue to work hard and have so much room to improve.” - Pascal Siakam reflecting on his basketball journey after scoring a career-high 32 points in his first ever Finals game

"He played well on both ends of the floor. He got to the paint, he knocked down his shots, his wide-open shots tonight, he was aggressive on both end of the floor. He got his hands, deflections on a lot of basketballs tonight. Big blocked shots, big buckets, he played well." - Kawhi Leonard on Pascal Siakam

Up next: The Raptors will host the Warriors for Game 2 on Sunday June 2 at 8 P.M. ET at Scotiabank Arena.


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