The Raptors did not get overwhelmed by the quality of the Warriors during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to Kawhi Leonard.
The Raptors, making their first appearance in a Finals series, claimed a 118-109 win over the two-time defending champions at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.
Leonard has starred in previous postseason series, but it was Pascal Siakam who inspired the Raptors, scoring a team-high 32 points.
Stephen Curry led the way for the Warriors with a 34-point haul, while Klay Thompson finished with 21.
And Leonard believes the Raptors’ fearless display has proved the Warriors’ players aren’t invincible.
“We don’t have conversations like that,” Leonard said at a news conference when asked if the Raptors had discussed Golden State’s quality prior to the game.
“We know that they’re only human. They’re a great basketball team, talented, high-basketball-IQ players. We’ve just got to go out there and compete, take the challenge, take big shots, go on runs.
“It’s about keeping your composure, don’t keep your head down when players like Steph or Klay make big threes, just keep playing.
“Don’t get too down, they’re a great team. Keep fighting, keep striving, don’t give up and have confidence in yourself to win the game.”
Ball game. Raps win! pic.twitter.com/TYECYB87lh
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 31, 2019
Leonard was well-defended by the Warriors in the first half, but came into his own as the game wore on, finishing with 23 points, five assists and eight rebounds.
“We played teams throughout the playoffs that played similar in defence,” Leonard said. “It’s just about being aggressive, making sure I play the right play and don’t try to be a hero out there, it’s just about playing basketball.”