Siakam leads Raptors to a famous win
Pascal Siakam scored a career playoff-best of 32 points and added eight rebounds and five assists as the Toronto Raptors defeated the visiting Golden State Warriors 118-109 in their opening game of the NBA Finals in front of an ecstatic Scotiabank Arena.
Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard recorded 23 points and eight rebounds for Toronto. The Raptors will host Game Two on Sunday evening as they compete in their first NBA Finals in the history of the franchise.
For once it was Siakam getting all the plaudits, and after the game, he was asked about what his late father would have made of how far he has come in his career. Speaking to reporters, he said: “It’s a question that I ask myself every single day. I wish I had the answer. People tell me that ‘I know he’s proud of you,’ and I kind of want to hear it from his mouth, I think it would be really cool.
“Every night I go out there, I have a bigger purpose than basketball. And that’s what makes it special that every night I’m out there, no matter how many points I score, I’m playing for something bigger than myself.”
Also, Marc Gasol added 20 points and had seven rebounds for the Raptors. Before fouling out with just over a minute to play. Fred VanVleet also contributed 15 points, and Danny Green added 11 points.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry led the Golden State Warriors with 34 points. While Klay Thompson recorded 21 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double of ten points, ten rebounds and ten assists.
The Raptors took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter. Kyle Lowry previously had seven points, six rebounds and nine assists in the game. But he took his fifth personal foul with just over eight minutes remaining and the Raptors leading by nine. However, Green’s three-pointer increased the lead up to 12 points with 7:32 remaining.
Curry’s lay-up and free throw cut the lead to nine with 2:35 left. However, the Raptors weren’t to be denied and controlled the final stages like they had been involved in this type of game before.
Toronto led 25-21 after the first quarter. Highlighting a much better start to the game than their recent Game Six victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
However, the Warriors took a 41-40 lead on Thompson’s three-pointer with 5:37 remaining in the second. Before, Gasol’s lay-up had the Raptors back ahead by one. Siakam’s three-pointer then put them ahead by four.
Danny Green’s three-pointer gave the Raptors a 59-49 half-time lead.
Before, Gasol led the first-half scoring with 14 points as the Raptors shot 50 per cent from the field. Meanwhile, Curry had 13 points for the Warriors. The reigning champions shot 36.6 per cent.
Early in the third quarter and the Raptors led by 12. However, the Warriors chipped back to within six on Thompson’s triple. Siakam’s lay-up after Leonard’s steal on Curry’s turnover restored the ten-point lead with just under seven minutes remaining of the third.
After Golden State pulled to within four, former Warrior Patrick McCaw hit a three-pointer to close the third-quarter scoring and gave Toronto an 88-81 lead.
Lowry was keen to acknowledge the importance of the fans. He said it was the loudest he had ever heard the building.
“It was crazy in there tonight,” Lowry described. “We have the best fans in the NBA, and they’re showing it every night.”
With an army of fans behind the team, you wouldn’t back against a repeat result on Sunday.