A year ago today. History was made for not only the Toronto Raptors, but also for the nation of Canada
On May 30th of 2019, the Toronto Raptors would appear in their first NBA finals game of NBA history. It was also Canada’s first appearance ever in the finals. They did not disappoint. They played the Golden State Warriors, who were trying to three-peat for the first time since the Kobe-Shaw Los Angeles Lakers did it from 2000-2002.
It was a weird battle to begin with. It was obvious that the Golden State Warriors were always the final favorites, especially after acquiring DeMarcus Cousins to a very cheap contract. Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors were in the finals, but no one ever expected them to be there. Especially over the Milwaukee Bucks, who were heavy favorites to make the final.
Yet, they were in the final anyway. Ready to rumble. Ready to end a dynasty.
Now we look back to the first game between both teams. It wasn’t Kawhi Leonard or Kyle Lowry carrying the load in this game. It was Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol.
In Pascal’s first game ever in the final, he posted a stat line of 32/8/5 on 82.4 percent shooting. Pascal definitely had himself his game of the series with this performance.
Despite Marc Gasol’s long career in the NBA, it was his first finals appearance in ten seasons in the NBA. He did not disappoint in his first finals game with 20 points on very good efficiency.
Stephen Curry did have a game-high 34 points, but it wasn’t enough to net his team the victory. The Toronto Raptors were ultimately victorious in their first-ever NBA finals and won by the score of 118-109.
This was a huge test for the Toronto Raptors as they proved to the world that they were not to be taken lightly by the Warriors. Of course, the Warriors were without the best star and the game’s best scorer ever, Kevin Durant. Had he been there, who knows how differently this game would’ve been. What we do know for sure, however, this game would’ve been a heck of a lot closer.
So a year ago today, in a normal world. Siakam proved he was more than just Kawhi Leonard’s sidekick, Marc Gasol showed how much he wanted to win his first championship, and the Toronto Raptors led the series 1-0. That meant only three more wins to bring the championship outside of America.