Toronto — The Toronto Raptors are rugged and relentless, capable of punishing teams in transition any time they make a mistake.
The Golden State Warriors felt like they were seeing a version of themselves in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and now they have to stop it.
No problem, they figure.
“It’s first to four, not first to one,” Klay Thompson said. “So, still a lot of basketball to be played.”
The Warriors’ 1-0 deficit might be unusual, but they certainly don’t seem uncomfortable. Golden State had won 12 straight Game 1s before falling 118-109 on Thursday, and the two-time defending champions hadn’t been behind in the NBA Finals since Cleveland had a 2-1 lead in 2015.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr has pointed to his team’s poor transition defense in the opener after Toronto used its quickness to score 24 fast-break points and turn the Warriors’ 17 turnovers into 17 points.
“They were getting the ball off the rim and just pushing it. Instead of crashing as hard as we did, we’ll have to make the adjustment in Game 2 and try to send more guys back,” Thompson said Saturday. “But 10 days off as well, we might have had a little cobwebs. It was just a mixture of things. But I know this: I know we’ll be better tomorrow.”
Kerr said the Raptors reminded him of the Warriors, with Pascal Siakam pushing the ball in transition the way Draymond Green does. Siakam was the far more effective player in the opener, with 32 points while Green struggled to a 2-for-9 night.
But the Warriors aren’t worried, relying on the confidence from facing just about every possible situation while making it to five straight NBA Finals.
“They got rings and they can be confident,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “We can’t really necessarily worry about them. We have to continue to worry about us. They’re going to be them and they’re going to do their thing, but for us we have to concentrate on us and focus on what we have to do.”
Golden State vs. Toronto
(Best-of-7; x-if necessary)
All games on ABC
Toronto leads 1-0
Game 1: Toronto 118-109
Sunday: at Toronto, 8
Wednesday: at Golden State, 9
Friday: at Golden State, 9
x-Monday, June 10: at Toronto, 9
x-Thursday, June 13: at Golden State, 9
x-Sunday, June 16: at Toronto, 8