Good morning, folks. DeMarcus Cousins is officially the first Calipari-coached Kentucky player to play in the Finals. Let’s talk NBA Playoffs.
(1) Warriors – 109 @ (2) Raptors – 118 (TOR leads 1-0)
- Game 1 is in the books and this series is already 100 times better than anyone expected it to be. The Raptors employed a near-perfect defensive strategy against the Warriors and managed to prevent Golden State from going on one of its infamous third-quarter runs (or any run, for that matter). You know the ones. Where Steph Curry and Klay Thompson make five triples in a matter of two minutes. Those type of demoralizing runs that have you contemplating if you chose the right sport or not. But every time it looked like the Warriors might spurt off a 10-0 run, Toronto had an answer. But, mainly, it had Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam.
- Leonard posted 23 points, eight rebounds, and five assists after a slow start to open the game. The Warriors did a devastating job on trapping Leonard with quick-hitting blitzes out of the pick-and-roll, forcing the ball out of the Raptors best player’s hands. Leonard shot only 5-14 from the field and was constantly hounded whenever he had the ball. Golden State came out with a clear gameplan; make anyone other than Leonard win this game. The only problem? Siakam rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion. The likely winner of the Most Improved Player award finished with 32 points on 14-17 shooting (at one point in the game he made 10 straight field goals) to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. With Leonard as the primary, secondary, and tertiary focus of the Warriors, that opened up highway like lanes for Siakam, who drove right down every single one. The heart and pride of Wichita State, Fred VanVleet, drilled four made triples and finished with 15 points, as well.
- Marc Gasol also played an amazing game for Toronto, contributing 20 points and seven rebounds while playing some of the best defense on the pick-and-roll against Curry that I’ve seen in some time. Gasol was channeling his inner 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Gasol and the Raptors suffocated the Warriors two best shooters all night long. With Curry and Thompson on the floor surrounded by Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney (which was the closing Warriors lineup in Game 1), there was little spacing. The two best shooters in the history of the game had little room to operate. This is where the return of Kevin Durant becomes a bigger talking point. Because after Thursday night, it was more than clear that Durant could have won this game. Leonard was even noticeably limping throughout the game but with no one to attack him on the defensive end that advantage was gone. Curry still ended up with 34 points and Thompson added another 21, but those Warriors bench units did not look great together. The latest update on Durant is that he’s expected to return during the midway point of the series.
- Now let’s talk about Cousins, who played eight minutes and registered three points, two assists, and two steals. Good news first: Cousins’ playmaking was not rusty at all. He dished out three impressive passes – two of which were converted for assists – when working in the post and he hasn’t lost much of his touch in that area. The bad news is basically everything else. He was getting sauced up in the pick-and-roll. Missed an open three. Was gassed after about three minutes. It wasn’t a perfect debut for Cousins by any means, and if Gasol is going to be playing this well all series, Cousins may be more of a necessity than previously thought. That’s if he can find a groove. But if Kevon Looney plays as well as he did in Game 1 (nine points and three rebounds in 28 minutes), head coach Steve Kerr could continue to roll with whats working.
- Lastly, we’ve got Drake beef! After the game was over and I pinched myself a few hundred times to make sure the final score was real, the ESPN cameras caught Drake and Draymond Green exchanging words, talking about lord knows what. Then Curry got involved, too. Notice that Drake is wearing a Dell Curry (father of Steph) Raptors jersey from when he played in Toronto years ago.
Drake with the smirk and trash talk for Draymond Green pic.twitter.com/QKDEIYUXsH
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 31, 2019
- Put on your lip-reading glasses, folks, because it sure does look like Drake calls Green “trash” and MANNNNN I sure hope he did. You know Draymond isn’t going to let this slide. I’ll take one order of Game 2, on the fly, please.
- Then Drake went and posted a picture of a piece of Curry’s hair on Instagram because why the hell not? Nothing else about this NBA has made sense so let’s get absolutely ignorant with it.
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|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||109-118 L @ TOR||3||0-2 (0-1)||0||2||2||0||1||-1||8|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||118-109 W vs. GSW||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
Sunday, June 2nd – 8:00 P.M. EST (ABC)