Three takeaways from Raptors' Game 1 win over Warriors
The Toronto Raptors got their first win in the NBA Finals with a 118-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1.
Pascal Siakam was fantastic and Kawhi Leonard was good even if he was not at his best.
Toronto now lead the series 1-0.
Game 2 is scheduled to tip off on Sunday.
Here are three takeaways from the Raptors' Game 1 win.
Golden State forgot about Siakam
Every team knows who Leonard is and what he can do. And in every series Leonard has played in this postseason, opponents have schemed in every way possible to slow him down. And give Golden State credit in Game 1, they did just that, truly limiting what the 2014 NBA Finals MVP could do by trapping him and double teaming him every chance they got.
But the Warriors seemingly forgot about Siakam. In double teaming Leonard all game and committing so much attention to the forward, they allowed Siakam to go one-on-one with just about everyone on the court including Draymond Green in the post.
Normally that makes sense. Put your best defender on one man while you devote two other great defensive players on another, but Siakam had Green's number. He scored 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting and dominated Green, getting to the bucket in the paint. He had 14 points in the third alone.
Golden State cannot come out in Game 2 with such a lackadaisical approach on Siakam. He will dominate them the same way he did in Game 1 if they do that again.
Danny Green kept shooting
The Eastern Conference Finals were an absolute struggle for Danny Green. He missed his last nine three-point attempts in the series and went four of 23 from beyond the arc (15.3 per cent). But despite his struggles, he never second-guessed himself.
"I want to make shots. Trust me, I'm trying," he said. "But at the same time, you've got to be positive, stick with what you know and be confident in yourself. Confidence goes a long way in this league."
He kept on shooting into Game 1 of the Finals and it paid off as he took a shot less than 45 seconds in. He missed that shot but he kept shooting and he hit his next one less than a minute later. That carried over to the rest of the game and he finished up hitting three of seven from long range in this game and scored 11 points.
SHOOTERS SHOOT pic.twitter.com/yr5izM7gVb— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 31, 2019
That is the most three-pointers he has hit since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Green kept shooting and it paid off.
Warriors have to make Leonard work on defense
Making Leonard work on offense is easy. When he has the ball, trap him, double team him, dirty up the area around his feet and put pressure on him. But the Warriors let him do nothing on defense in Game 1 and it showed.
Leonard was allowed to play off of Andre Iguodala, and on occasion did the same thing against Green and he never really looked like he had to work on that end. And Golden State were content to go away from him, which is fine, because he is one of the best defenders in the NBA, but it might not be best for the long run.
As a result, he was fresh on offense. He was not great in Game 1 offensively. He finished with 23 points on five-of-14 shooting while most of his scoring came from the free-throw line as he went 10 of 12 from there.
This was not Leonard's best game and some of that has to do with what the Warriors did. But can Golden State expect games like that from Leonard throughout this series? They should not because if they do, Leonard will go off for 40 on them. So the Warriors need to be proud of slowing him down offensively in Game 1, but they cannot expect for him to be slowed down like that going forward if they do not tire him out on the defensive end.