How the Raptors Won Their First N.B.A. Championship



The Raptors were better, the Warriors were scrappier and Toronto went into halftime at Oracle up, 60-57.

The lead honestly felt like it should be much larger for the Raptors. They shot the ball well, they harassed Golden State’s shooters, and they forced 10 turnovers. Kyle Lowry, who scored Toronto’s first 11 points, is up to 21, Pascal Siakam has 13 and Serge Ibaka closed the first half on a tear, repeatedly getting to the basket against Golden State’s small lineup, and has 10 off the bench.

But somehow, some way, the Warriors are staying in the game. Klay Thompson has nearly matched Lowry with 18 points, picking up 8 from the free-throw line, Andre Iguodala has 11, showing off a nice array of dunks, and Draymond Green is being his usual versatile self with 4 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

The stars of the teams have been a bit quieter. Stephen Curry is being his usual disruptive self with his off-ball movement, but he’s scored just 9 points on 2 of 7 shooting. Kawhi Leonard has 9 points and 2 rebounds and picked up a costly third foul late in the quarter — one that gave Thompson three free points.

Golden State seems to have a choice: Go small to open up the offense (which lets Ibaka dominate inside), or go big to solidify its defense (leaving just one shooter on the court). Neither option is particularly appealing and Toronto, trying to close out a championship on the road, seems to be working to force an advantage no matter what the Warriors choose.

Scott Cacciola: I wrote about Kyle Lowry after he did a lot of little stuff to help the Raptors win Game 1. He did not exactly clutter the box score. Well, he has done everything for Toronto tonight: scoring, passing, leading, steadying. For all the change that the Raptors have undergone in recent seasons to shape themselves into bona fide contender, Lowry has been a constant. And he, more than anyone else in the franchise, with the possible exception of Masai Ujiri, the team’s president of basketball operations, has been through the most, including the many lows. He is doing all he can to try to end this thing tonight, on the highest of highs.

Stephen Curry came back into the game and Golden State went on an immediate 6-0 run to take a lead, 44-43.


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