Toronto Raptors: 3 keys for Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals

(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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2. Siakam and other role players continue strong play

When you have an offense that has leaned heavily on one superstar all postseason, you’ll need your secondary players to step up when said player has an off night.

In Game 1, the Toronto Raptors won with a team effort as Kawhi Leonard had a struggling night by his standards as the Warriors blitzed him well above the perimeter throughout the night, with Pascal Siakam pacing Toronto.

Siakam scored 32 points on 14-for-17 shooting from the field, grabbed eight rebounds, had five assists, two blocks and a steal. Siakam is best in transition, and scored nine fast-break points in Game 1.

He did damage elsewhere too, scoring 18 total points in the paint and making two of his three 3-point attempts.

Like Gasol, Siakam is a skilled big that Golden State hasn’t faced this postseason, yet again there aren’t many 6’9” players that can handle the ball and move as fluidly as Siakam.

He regularly challenged whoever was guarding him off the dribble, including scoring 16 points when matched up on Draymond Green. If he wins that head-to-head with Draymond, the Raptors are in great shape.

Outside of Siakam, Toronto got needed contributions on the offensive end from Fred VanVleet, who continued his hot streak with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and Danny Green, who broke out of his terrible shooting slump briefly to score 11 points and go 3-for-7 on 3-pointers.

FVV’s ability to knock down 3s and break the defense down while it scrambles to help will be key this series, as will Green’s ability to knock down open shots that will certainly come as Golden State collapses on Kawhi and drives.

Kyle Lowry battled foul trouble all game and shot 2-for-9, but dished out nine assists, took a pair of charges and was a tied for a team-high with a plus-11.

Being guarded by Klay and other bigger defenders make scoring difficult for him this series, but his ability to break down a defense, keep the ball moving and make hustle plays are vital to Toronto’s system.

If Golden State chooses to be this aggressive with their defense on Kawhi, the secondary players will have to step-up for Toronto to win the series.

Game 1 was a good start and how they countered the Warriors defensive scheme was perfect, but the champs will make adjustments and we’ll see how well the non-Kawhi Raptors react to the expected alterations, and Siakam and Green have not been consistent with their performances this postseason.