Raptors vs Warriors

Raptors vs Warriors : The 2019 NBA Finals tipped off on Thursday night, and it’s the Toronto Raptors — and not the Golden State Warriors — holding the early series lead.

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Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors
How to watch Game 5

Date: Monday, June 10
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Scotiabank Arena — Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TV channel: ABC
Streaming: WatchESPN
Live stats: GameTracker
Odds: Raptors -3 (Over/Under 212.5)

Live/Repeat:Live

Raptors vs Warriors

The Warriors come into Game 2 hoping to get a lot better on defense after watching the Raptors (and Pascal Siakam, in particular) take advantage of some lackluster Golden State transition defense while notching a 118-109 Game 1 victory. Sure, the Warriors slowed down Toronto stars Kawhi Leonard (23 points on 5-of-14 shooting) and Kyle Lowry (seven points on 2-of-9 shooting), but Siakam erupted for a whopping 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting. Siakam’s primary defender? Draymond Green, who vowed to be much better on defense Sunday after playing pretty well on offense again — notching a triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

The Toronto Raptors are the only team the Golden State Warriors haven’t beat this season.

Taking both regular-season matches and Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Raptors have had the upper-hand over the two-time defending NBA champions this season.

Heading into Game 2 of the NBA Finals, teams that take a 2-0 series lead are 30-4 all-time. The last team to come back from down 2-0 are the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers against the Warriors.

Game 1 against the Raptors was the first time the Warriors have lost the opening game of the NBA Finals since their run began in 2014-15. In that same time period, the Warriors have lost Game 2 just once, which also came in 2014-15.

Between quarters, the team nodded to its 24-year existence with a parade of ex-players, all welcomed with applause. Game 1 was a celebration of basketball in Toronto and in Canada — rightfully so.

But the time for pageantry is over. The only bit of history left to make is a championship. How can the Raptors repeat their solid Game 1 victory three more times?

Speeding Siakam
After the game, Golden State coach Steve Kerr zeroed in on one major Warriors weakness: transition defence. The Raptors picked their spots to pierce the Golden State defence with quick buckets through hit-ahead passes and run-outs. At the centre of it all was Pascal Siakam, the fastest player on the court. Siakam blitzed up and down, surprising two-time defensive player of the year Draymond Green with his straight-line speed and funky array of finishes.

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The Raptors scored 24 fast-break points to the Warriors’ 17. That’s a huge win against a team that built its dynasty on the backbone of quick strikes. Game 1 didn’t feel comfortable until Kyle Lowry’s late three-pointer because the Warriors are known for their two-minute offensive outbursts. That the Raptors beat the Warriors at their own game is promising. Siakam may not shoot 83 per cent again, but the fact that he can is a massive development.