NBA Finals Game 1 Recap: Siakam Shines

TORONTO, ON- Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam in play against the Indian Pacers in Toronto on Sunday(Rene Johnston/Toronto Star) (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors topped the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals 118-109. Pascal Siakam finished with 32 points for Toronto in the victory, while Steph Curry notched 34 in the losing effort for the Warriors.

The Raptors will carry a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Siakam Shines in Game 1 Victory for Toronto

NBA Finals Game 1 Recap

The Toronto Raptors came away victorious in their first Finals game in franchise history. Siakam proved to be virtually unstoppable in the outing, dicing up the defense at will from start to finish. He finished an outstanding 14-for-17 shooting on the night. The Finals newcomer also added 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks.

Kawhi Leonard managed 23 points on an abysmal 5-for-14 shooting night, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Marc Gasol added 20 points and 7 boards in his NBA Finals debut.

Turnovers haunted the Warriors as they were never able to close the gap once Toronto went ahead. They committed 17 turnovers on the evening. Curry was relatively quiet, despite leading all scorers with 34 points.

In the first NBA Finals game ever in Canada, the Raptors took a lead and never looked back.

First Quarter

Curry opened the scoring up with a pair of free throws early in the first quarter. On the next possession, Danny Green knocked down a triple for the first Finals points in franchise history for Toronto. Leonard and Gasol hit a pair of 3’s for the Raptors to take an early lead, but Jordan Bell notched a quick layup in his second-ever playoff start to tie the game at 9 a piece before the first stoppage.

Out of the timeout, Gasol hit another triple, followed up by layups from Danny Green and Pascal Siakam. Toronto extended the run into a 7-2 spurt but Curry quickly seized all momentum with a back-to-back signature off-balance 3’s. Klay Thompson punctuated the run with a fastbreak slam to extend the run to 8-0. The Warriors took a 19-18 lead.

Toronto didn’t wait long to respond with Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet both knocking down quick shots to put the Raptors up 22-19 going into the second media timeout. They extended their run to 8-0 with a Siakam 3-pointer and took a 25-19 lead. They nearly carried the lead into the second period until Shaun Livingston knocked down two free throws with 3.7 seconds to end the run.

Thompson and Andre Iguodala took turns defending Leonard early with solid results. Leonard only notched 3 points in the quarter due to the stout defense.

The Warriors were able to survive both Toronto runs thanks to their offensive rebounding. They grabbed four in the quarter, two of which led to Curry 3-pointers. Draymond Green grabbed 6 boards in the period, all on the defensive end. Curry led all scorers with 11 points. Gasol trailed him with 8 for Toronto.

It was the lowest-scoring opening quarter for the Warriors during the 2019 NBA Playoffs.

Second Quarter

DeMarcus Cousins started the second quarter, making his first appearance since a quad injury sidelined him in the first round. He missed his first attempt and the long rebound turned into an emphatic slam from Serge Ibaka to give Toronto a 31-26 lead early in the quarter. Cousins was able to reach the free throw line on the next possession, knocking down both for the first Finals points of his career.

VanVleet came alive early in the second for Toronto, racking up 7 points in just 7 minutes. A deep transition 3-pointer that put the Raptors up 36-31 was the icing on the cake before missing 2-of-2 free throws moments later.

The Warriors went on a quick 10-4 run in the middle of the period, topped off by a Thompson 3-pointer that didn’t even move the net. Gasol ended the run with an easy two, putting Toronto up 42-41 going into a timeout.

Siakam got hot late in the third, scoring 7-straight points for Toronto. Gasol added 6 more down the stretch. Danny Green nailed a triple with under 10 seconds left to ultimately giving the Raptors a 59-49 lead heading into the halftime locker room.

Toronto ended the half on a 20-8 run.

Draymond Green switched onto him Leonard in the quarter, causing more issues for the superstar. Leonard managed only 5 points in the quarter, 3 of which came from the free throw line. He finished the half with 8 points and 3 fouls.

Gasol led all scorers with 14 going into the showers. Curry had 13 (11 in the first quarter) for Golden State, and Siakam totaled 12 for Toronto.

Siakam’s Third Quarter

The third quarter belonged to Siakam and Siakam alone.

The Most Improved Player candidate carried his hot streak into the second half, scoring 14 of the first 18 points for Toronto and assisting on 2 more. He started the game 11-for-13 from the field, knocking down 9-in-a-row.

Curry went on a mini-run early, scoring 5 unanswered points, but the Raptors were able to maintain their 10-point lead through most of the quarter. Thompson drilled a pair of triples as the Warriors cut the lead to as few as 4 points, but they never quite got over the hump. The notorious “3rd Quarter Warriors” did not look like themselves.

Patrick McCaw hit a huge 3-pointer with just seconds left in the period, his first made shot of the playoffs, to give Toronto an 88-81 lead going into the final quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Warriors came out firing to start the fourth. Thompson converted on a pair of free throws, followed by a triple from Jonas Jerebko. Cousins went 1-for-2 from the line to cut the lead to 90-87 for Toronto with just over 10 minutes remaining.

However, VanVleet and Siakam responded quickly with a bucket each to stretch the lead back to 7 points. Siakam kept his streak alive, knocking down 11 shots in a row. He got his nightly total up to an astounding 13-for-15 from the field for 30 points.

With 7:31 left in the contest, Curry’s 3-point attempt rimmed out. On the opposite end, Danny Green buried a triple to give the Raptors a 100-88 advantage and all the momentum in the entire country of Canada.

The Warriors cut the lead to 8 points with back-to-back slams from Kevon Looney and Iguodala, but Leonard halted all momentum with a huge 3-pointer in response.

Every time the Warriors attempted to come back late, the Raptors were right there to respond. Golden State never got back into the contest.

Up Next in the NBA Finals

The Warriors will look to even the series up in Game 2 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Tipoff is set for Sunday, June 2nd at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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