Chad Davis | June 5th, 2019
The 2019 NBA Finals have been nothing short of thrilling thus far. Games 1 and 2 are in the books and I am excited to see how the pivotal Game 3 plays out.
The first game of the series started off with a bang and set a nice tone for the rest of the series. The Raptors, with their first appearance as a franchise in the NBA Finals, took Game 1 behind Pascal Siakam. He was the difference maker. With a stellar stat line of 32-8-5, Siakam was also incredibly efficient shooting the ball with an 82% FG percentage. I was also impressed with Fred VanVleet stepping up his game behind a struggling Kyle Lowry. Vanfleet has emerged as one of the most potent backup point guards in the league, in my opinion, and can give the Raptors big-time minutes. While the Warriors still had three All-Stars in that game, I expected them to struggle on the road. Kevin Durant is still out and Cousins is only playing with limited minutes returning from his quad injury. I also love Drake’s antics on the sidelines and watching him jaw with Draymond is quite entertaining as a fan. The Raptors looked impressive and made a statement, so maybe the Drake curse will be lifted.
Game 2, however, was a different story. Golden State evened up the series largely due to the fact that it seemed like the Raptors could not buy a bucket. Too many missed open shots, specifically in the 3rd quarter, allowed the Warriors to get out in transition and go on an 18-0 run. I want to also point out that even though Cousins’ box score numbers weren’t mind-blowing, his presence of just being on the court was a game changer. The Warriors are at their best when they get production out of their role players. Curry, Thompson, and Durant will all get their points, but it’s about how players like Andre Iguodala and Quinn Cook contribute when they enter the game. Cook hit two huge three-pointers down the stretch as the Raptors were trying to make their comeback. Iggy also took a horrible three with a few seconds left still on the shot clock on their last possession. Now look, I’m aware it was wide open and he was lucky that it went in, but it would’ve been such a bone-headed play to give Toronto the ball back within a one-possession game.
Kevin Durant has been ruled out for Game 3 and it is still unclear whether he will return for Game 4. Winning Game 2 and splitting the series was huge for the Warriors, as going down 2-0 would have been deflating without the help of Durant going forward. The first game in The Bay is still a toss-up and Toronto has to be careful not to yield the series lead. It is absolutely vital for them to keep winning against the Warriors as long as Durant remains out.
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