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Battle-tested Raptors enter NBA Finals with chemistry forged by adversity

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TORONTO – Of all the differences between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors the most basic may be the one nothing can be done about.

Beyond all their glamorous, mind-bending feats of scoring, their star-power and their championship pedigree have the most basic quality shared by most championship teams, one that’s impossible to replicate or defend:

They’ve been around a while. They’ve seen somethings. They have time on their side.

Their core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson have shared 118 playoff games over seven seasons; Andre Iguodala 106 games over six; Shaun Livingston will play his 100th post-season game with the Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals; When they needed to add some depth at centre late in the season they brought back Andrew Bogut, who was part of the original core, won a championship with them in 2015 and was part of the team that won an NBA-record 73 games a year later. No introductions were necessary.

For the Raptors franchise it will be playoff game No.101 spread across 24 seasons.

When the ball goes up for this iteration of the Raptors it will be their 19th playoff game together on the heels of a regular season when the starting lineup played a total of 161 minutes as a unit. The Warriors can speak their own language. The Raptors are – figuratively – still wearing name tags.

But somehow they’ve got it done, they’ve made it this far.

The fabric of the team has come together quickly, the weave getting tighter and sturdier with each passing test.

Jodie Meeks was the last player added to the Raptors roster, added to provide the potential for instant offence of the bench if or when the needed arises. As a 10-year veteran he’s seen teams that thrive and fail. He quickly saw the right ingredients in Toronto.

"The ultimate goal is to win, it’s kind of cliché, but it’s really true," said Meeks after the Raptors watched film and practiced lightly on Monday. "I’ve been on teams where people say it but they don’t really mean it. This team........

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