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Raptors prove they're unfazed by unfamiliar spotlight with historic win

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TORONTO — Whatever the outcome, it was history. Either the Toronto Raptors were going to become the first team to win an NBA Finals game in Canada or the first one to lose one.

As it turns out the Raptors were able to send an ecstatic gathering of 19,800 home as witnesses of the only kind of history they wanted to be part of with a 118-109 win over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, defying the Las Vegas oddsmakers and jumping out to a promising 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

It was just the second time in 22 playoff series that the Warriors have dropped the first game of a series, which — given the Raptors’ tortured Game 1 history (just their third win in a season opener in 18 years) — made the win all the more remarkable.

Toronto was in some semblance of control for the entire game and were able to avoid falling victim to any of the Warriors patented double-digit scoring runs. A lay-up by Pascal Siakam put the Raptors up nine with just a minute to play and the crowd could enjoy it for once.

The win came with just seven points from Kyle Lowry and a fairly modest 23 points from Kawhi Leonard, who also added eight rebounds and five assists.

Among the more welcome developments was a return to form by Siakam, however, as he started his NBA Finals career with 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting. The third-year forward has had to figure what being a primary option in the post-season is like on the fly while being covered by the likes of all-NBA level defenders Joel Embiid (Philadelphia) and Giannis Antetokounmpo with Milwaukee.

A 55-per cent shooter during the regular season and a terror in transition, Siakam came into Game 1 shooting just 46 per cent........

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