Our event of the day is Game 2 of the NBA Finals, with the Toronto Raptors hosting the Golden State Warriors at the Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors hold a 1-0 lead in the series, thanks to an outstanding performance by Pascal Siakam in Thursday’s series opener. Be sure to tune in tonight to see whether Toronto can extend their lead or if Golden State will bounce back. The Toronto Raptors appear in their first NBA Finals since joining the league in 1995. That meant that Thursday’s game 1 was the first Finals match to be played outside the United States. The Raptors were quick to show that they did not intend to let this opportunity slip by as they stunned the Warriors in a 118-109 victory. While all eyes had been on superstar Kawhi Leonard as the key to a Toronto victory, Pascal Siakam turned out to be the hero at the Scotiabank Arena. The 25-year-old Cameroonian power forward posted a playoff career-high 32 points, going 14-for-17 from the field. He was also a vital part of the suffocating Toronto defence that forced Golden State away from the rim and into unfavourable iso shooting and poor shooting match-ups. After upsetting the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Raptors appeared invigorated and energetic.
This was best exemplified by Siakam’s aggressive leaping block that denied Draymond Green a lay-up late in the fourth quarter. Despite 34 points from Steph Curry and 21 from Klay Thompson, the Warriors were hampered by their lack of a starting-calibre center. They began game 1 without a center on the court before rotating power forward Jordan Bell out for DeMarcus Cousins. However, Cousins only played 8 minutes and did not look completely recovered from the injury that has kept him off the court since mid-April. With go-to starter Kevin Durant also out, Golden State are trying to patch the hole in their usually devastating offense. Realistically, this means that the Warriors are only currently playing three members of their super-team - Curry, Thompson and Green. Incidentally, they were the only three Warriors to score at least ten points on Thursday. This highlights the biggest difference between the two sides. Golden State has a near unbeatable starting five with a serviceable bench. Meanwhile, Toronto has a truly deep roster headlined by their star, Kawhi Leonard. As the series progresses, it will be up for the Warriors’ bench to step and compete with the Raptors. All this sets up a game 2 you will not want to miss.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the MotoGP. Today, the season travels to Italy and the Mugello Circuit in Scarperia e San Piero. Five races in, defending champion Marc Márquez holds an eight-point lead at the top of the MotoGP standings. However, Marquez has not won in Italy since 2014 and will have to best Jorge Lorenzo, the defending champion in Italy and winner of six of the last nine Italian Grands Prix. With Marquez starting in pole position and Lorenzo having to fight his way up from 17th, this will be an unmissable race. Elsewhere, the French Open continues at Stade Roland Garros in Paris. The final stage of the Giro d’Italia takes place in Verona. In golf, the US Women’s Open Championship concludes at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. In the hurling senior championships, Clare hosts Tipperary at Cusack Park in Ennis. In MLS, Minnesota United host Philadelphia Union at Allianz Field in Saint Paul. In the NRL, the Titans host the Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium in Robina, Queensland.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by NBA; Golden State Warriors
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