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The NBA Finals have begun and while some are surprised of the Toronto Raptors’ 118-109 win over the Golden State Warriors in game 1, you should expect this series to be long and grueling. There were a lot of surprises, big time players and eye opening plays in the first game.
Here’s some postgame reaction of game 1.
We expected Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and the Raptors’ defense to step up in the first game. What was surprising was Pascal Siakam offensive explosion and Marc Gasol’s defense along with scoring.
Siakam will have to be a factor on the offensive side but no one expected him to go for 32 points on 14-17 shooting. After looking into it, should we really be surprised considering that he has a size advantage on Green and if he gets a switch, he can either shoot over or drive pass the player guarding him. Most of his shots were in the paint which expanded his confidence throughout the game.
Gasol’s 20 points were a major factor in the Raptors’ win but his defense might have been more impactful. Gasol’s continuous help off the screen on Curry disrupted Golden State’s offense. It forced the Warriors to change their scheme which started the run that helped the Raptors to a double-digit lead in the second quarter.
Creativity is Lacking
Golden State is the most selfless team in the league. You can count on them to pass up great shots to make the correct pass for a better percentage shot. In game 1, Toronto’s defense stifled the unselfish offense. It really exposed the inability of the Warriors to create their own shot.
Of course Kevin Durant’s presence is missing but his ability to score if and when the offense stalled made their spacing that much more and provided options. Last night, Golden State couldn’t get good looks due to the fact that they couldn’t manage enough baskets off penetration. If this continues, the series might be shorter than we expected.
Double Or Not To Double
For instance, as mentioned earlier, Toronto decided to double Curry in the middle of the second quarter after the Warriors were expecting the same look they had been receiving. This put a “monkey wrench” in their scheme and caused the offense to stall and set them back six-to-eight points. After they were able to cause havoc on the Warriors offense, they switched it back to the defense they opened up with, which kept the Warriors guessing.
Golden State doubled Kawhi Leonard from the gate and it kind of backfired. Yes, their plan forced the role players to make shots like they expected to but it got them in rhythm and built their confidence. In result, Leonard was able to distribute and it allowed ball movement, which created mismatches that led to baskets.