The Golden State Warriors Face Off Against the Toronto Raptors


Chensiyuan via Wikimedia

One of the NBA Final Games where the Raptors and Warriors faced off.

This year’s basketball championship broke the four year streak of being the Golden Sate Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers and is instead the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors.

In addition, 2019 is the first time a National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals has been played in Canada or anywhere outside the U.S.

The Warriors are no strangers to the NBA finals. This is their fifth straight appearance with the same core group of players that include the following: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. In the regular season, the team finished first in the Western Conference but third in the league overall, ranked behind the Raptors who were awarded four out of the seven games played on their court.

The Warriors defeated the Clippers, Rockets, and Trailblazers to reach the finals but not without cost. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the entire league, was injured with a right calf strain in game five of the second series against the Rockets. Charles Barkley former player and now analyst said, “[The Warriors] have no chance to win it without Durant. This series or any other series.” Barkely was incorrect as the Warriors would go on to win five playoff games in a row to reach the NBA Finals.

The Raptors finished second in their conference, but were not seen as the favorites to make it to the finals because the Bucks finished first in the conference and appeared unstoppable. The first playoff series was a breeze for the Raptors who won in five games, but their series against the 76ers came down to the wire.

In game seven of the series, Leonard hit a buzzer beater three pointer that bounced multiple times on the rim before falling in. In the Eastern Conference finals, the Raptors went zero to two against the Bucks in the first two matches, but then came back and won four games in a row to reach the NBA Finals.

Game one and two both took place in Toronto but had very different outcomes. The Raptors played with a higher intensity and efficient transition offense to exploit the Warriors. Pascal Siakam, power forward for the Raptors, scored 32 points, going 14 of 17 in field goals. The Warriors were unable to make their third quarter comeback in which they became known for in the last series against the Trailblazers coming up nine points short.

In game two, the Warriors did not start strong. Reports were out that Curry, Warriors point guard was low on energy with frequent visits to the medical trainer. Curry was off to a slow start, but Thompson was able to keep the flow of points going.

The Raptors looked to be in control of the first half, but the Warriors stayed in it with more free throws and an end of the quarter run. At half-time, the score was 54-59, in favor of the Raptors. Kevon Looney, Warriors Center, had injured his shoulder when falling to the ground while guarding Kawhi Leonard.

Warriors started the third quarter on an 18-0 run, turning the tide of the game. The Raptors were struggling to make a shot while the Warriors played with passing and fast breaks. During the fourth quarter, Thompson was taken out with a hamstring strain and did not return for the rest of the game. Then the offense was slow for both teams with three game time minutes where no one scored. Raptors were within two points of the Warriors until Andre Iguodala made a game-sealing three pointer with six seconds remaining.