Game 3 Raptors Starting Lineup Breakdown – Go Here
Note: This is the Game 2 Breakdown
Toronto Raptors got off to a hot start in the finals, winning Game 1. They were mostly in control in the fourth quarter, which is usually not how teams feel when playing the Warriors. The big storyline was Pascal Siakam going 14-of-17. He had 32 points and eight rebounds. Toronto played stout defense which transferred over to a strong offense. There are some reports of Kevin Durant coming back in the series, but it won’t be for Game 2. The Raptors will desperately need to bring it in Game 2, mainly because the looming return of Durant.
Game 1 Raptors Recap
The Raptors shot 50% from the field in Game 1, and 39% from three. These are excellent numbers when you factor in what they did defensively. They held Golden State to 43% shooting, and forced 16 turnovers. Siakam had major numbers, as you can see above. Kawhi Leonard didn’t shoot well, but he had 23 points, 8 rebounds, five assists, and was +11. We saw some poor shooting from Kyle Lowry, but it didn’t matter much. He played strong defense, and dished out nine assists.
Marc Gasol was an x-factor in Game 2, scoring 20 points and pulling in seven rebounds. He was a mismatch for Golden State, and they don’t have a big body to defend him. It will be interesting to see how they adjust in Game 2, because Gasol and Siakam will eat them up again if changes aren’t made. Danny Green shot over 40% from the field and three, which was a major plus for him given the shooting struggles he has endured in the playoffs. Fred VanVleet drew high praise for his defense on Stephen Curry, but overall he had 15 points on five of eight shooting.
Raptors Starting Lineup
Kyle Lowry, PG – It wasn’t the most productive scoring game from Kyle Lowry, but a lot of that was made up by the front court. Lowry played strong defense, and was +11 in the game. He shot just 22% from the field, but the Lowry attackers won’t be after him given they won. Lowry played 36 minutes, and did the dirty work as he usually does. He had the best defensive rating among starters, and the second best on the team in Game 1. Lowry will remain a heavy minutes eater regardless of offensive struggles.
Danny Green, SG – Danny Green had a higher TS% than Klay Thompson in Game 1. As much as we joke around about Green’s shot at times, he played a strong Game 1. His defense on the backcourt was strong, and he was able to hit from deep for the first time in a while. He played 9 minutes, and likely will be around that mark. With Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet playing off the bench, it will remain a good balance of minutes with Green. With his defense and ability to play against Thompson, it is going to be hard to take him out of the lineup regardless.
Kawhi Leonard, SF – It wasn’t the best shooting game for Kawhi Leonard in Game 1, but he had 23 points still, and was able to chip in with peripheral stats. Leonard is going to need others to pick up the play on the offensive end, mainly because he is going to need to have such a focus defensively. It was a relatively quiet game in consideration to what he has been doing lately. Leonard had a 15% assist rate and 11% rebound right. He played 43 minutes in Game 1, and it would be a surprise to see him under 40 minutes in any game for this series.
Pascal Siakam, PF – Talk about the star of the show. Pascal Siakam had an 89.5 TS% in Game 1, and a 23% usage rate. He also had an assist rate of 27.8%, and a rebound rate of 11.3%. Siakam dominated the front court, which overall the Warriors had zero answer for. He was also able to tack on two blocks and a steal, and only turned the ball over twice. 39 minutes was enough for Siakam, and Nick Nurse let him dominate. There was no need to take him out. We have seen in these playoffs Nurse go to Serge Ibaka if things go south, but that wasn’t the case. Expect Golden State to figure something out against this front court.
Marc Gasol, C – Marc Gasol went 20 and 7 in 29 minutes, and gave some minutes up to Serge Ibaka. Gasol was a mismatch against Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell struggled to contain Gasol, although Looney might have been the most effective. Gasol had the highest offensive rating among the two teams, and he had a 79.1 TS%. At his age he still won’t play the minutes of other starters, but Ibaka coming in to back him up isn’t a bad move. Look for Gasol to continue to play around 30 minutes, and give troubles.
As expected, we didn’t see the Raptors go to the bench too often. Mainly because they didn’t need to. Norman Powell and Patrick McCaw played less than ten minutes. Serge Ibaka played 17 minutes, and chipped in with five points, three rebounds, and a block. Ibaka will continue to be the guy who gives Gasol and Siakam breathers. Fred VanVleet can be looked at as the bench guy getting starter’s minutes. His defense has been excellent, but his offense has bounced back over the last 4-5 games. He had 15 points on eight shots, and was able to limit Stephen Curry at times.