Game 2 of the Toronto Raptors-Golden State Warriors matchup didn’t just see a tough loss for the Raptors. It was a star-studded playoff game with big names—and in some cases, big drama—attracting international attention.
Here’s what people are saying about the Raptors and our city:
Former U.S. president Barack Obama received a standing ovation from the crowd inside Scotiabank Arena last night, along with chants of “MVP.”
“So much for Drake being the biggest star in the house for Sunday night’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals,” writes Scott Ostler, sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.
He notes, however, that Obama was unlikely to engage in “Drake-like sideline antics.”
The two famous fans met and shook hands before the game.
“Naturally, no mega-celebrity’s visit to the Raptors’ home would be complete without a greeting from the team’s resident superfan. And so it was that Drake also shared a moment with Obama before tipoff,” writes Washington Post sports reporter Des Bieler.
What did Drake do this time?
Speaking of Drake, it wouldn’t be a Raptors playoff game if the rapper didn’t do something to make headlines. After NBA called the Raptors about his courtside antics, Drake has been trolling through his outfits. During Game 1 it was a signed Del Curry Raptors jersey. On Game 2, it was a black hoodie with an image of Macaulay Culkin’s face from Home Alone and yellow text reading “KEVIN?!?!?!” on the back.
It was a jab at Warriors’ star Kevin Durant, who has been sidelined since May 8 with a calf injury. But Durant, along with Klay Thompson—who sustained a hamstring injury in Game 2, and who Drake also taunted with a dance to “Hotline Bling”—found a way to give Drake “a test of his own medicine,” SFGate editorial assistant Eric Tin writes.
Calling Drake by his given name after the game near the Warriors locker room, Thompson said, “We’ll see you in the Bay Aubrey. You weren’t talking tonight were ya? Bum a**.”
Ting also listed other celebrities present at Game 2, including singers Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, Flo Rida, Steve Aoki and Alessia Cara, who sung the national anthem.
After speculating on whether Drake will be in the Bay Area for Games 3 and 4 of the series, he concludes it “seems pretty likely.”
The path to success involves more than Kawhi
A big question heading into the rest of the series is whether Durant and other injured and sick Warriors will be back and playing to their best ability—and how this will affect the Raptors.
“The Raptors can still win this series with or without Durant on the court, but the Warriors should remain favored because they are simply the better team,” breaking news writer Rob Goldberg says for the Bleacher Report.
For this to happen, though, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard—who finished Game 2 with 34 points—needs the rest of the team to carry their weight, Goldberg writes. He says the Raptors are more than a one-man team, but their depth and strong defence were “nowhere to be found in Game 2, especially during the second half.”
“If Toronto is going to win three more games, it likely won’t be because Leonard is scoring 40 or 50 points. It will be because [Pascal] Siakam is taking advantage of mismatches, Kyle Lowry is running the offense and [Danny] Green is knocking down three-pointers,” Goldberg says.
“Otherwise, Game 1 will end up being the high point of this series.”
Can the Raptors make a comeback?
After their Game 1 victory, polling and statistics website FiveThirtyEight’s algorithmic projections gave the Raptors a 62 per cent chance of beating the Warriors—but this changed drastically after last night’s game.
As of 6 a.m. Monday, the site gives the Warriors a 64 per cent chance of winning the championship.
“While the Raptors have endured scoring droughts in the playoffs, their second-half lull stunned a Scotiabank Arena crowd that smelled blood in the early going,” writes Washington Post NBA reporter Ben Golliver.
ESPN senior writer Jackie MacMullan is even more graphic in her description of the game: “The champions cranked into overdrive with such ferocity and cold-blooded efficiency, it was as if the Toronto Raptors were unsuspectingly mugged in a dark alley after midnight,” she writes.
“The message in the locker room was unanimous: It doesn’t matter. The Warriors are going home, and they are flush with Toronto’s house money.”
But others point out that the Raptors are no strangers to rebounding—after all, they won their series against the Milwaukee Bucks with four straight victories after losing the first two games.
“Still, it was impossible not to watch this game unfold and feel like it was one enormous missed opportunity to lay a massive blow to the two-time defending champions,” says ESPN NBA writer Tim Bontemps.
“But while Toronto didn’t get the job done Sunday, there wasn’t a feeling of hopelessness emanating from the Raptor locker room. Yes, Toronto let the game get away. But this team has bounced back in each of the past two rounds, and expects to do so again.”
Sherina Harris is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @sherinaharris