Raptors beat Warriors in Canada’s first-ever NBA Finals game
The first-ever NBA Finals game in Canada goes to the Canadian team. The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 118-109 on Thursday night.
Pascal Siakam scored a playoff career-high 32 points for the Raptors as Toronto played with confidence from the beginning, controlling the game from the get-go against a Golden State team beginning its fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.
Kawhi Leonard added 23 points, and Marc Gasol had 20 for the Raptors, who were solid against opponents who had played 22 NBA Finals games in the last four years.
The Warriors had won Game 1 in each of the past four NBA Finals, but they also had home-court advantage in those series. Stephen Curry led Golden State with 34 points. Klay Thompson had 21.
About the only show of nerves for the Raptors was on their first possession when Kyle Lowry fired a pass out of bounds. But they recovered quickly, building a 10-point lead by halftime.
All four of the Warriors’ previous finals were against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they struggled against the Raptors who shot 50.6 percent from the field.
Toronto’s season changed for the better when they got Leonard in a trade with San Antonio helping the team to what is already a historic season, culminating with the trip to the NBA Finals.
Thursday night, however, Leonard wasn’t the dominant force he was in the first three rounds when he averaged 31.2 points. But he had eight rebounds and five assists in his first NBA Finals game since 2014, when he was MVP for the Spurs’ championship.
The Warriors remained without Kevin Durant, who was MVP of the last two NBA Finals. While he is in Toronto, it’s unclear whether he’ll play before the series returns to San Francisco.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Toronto. The Raptors entered the league as an expansion team in 1995.