The Toronto Raptors marked their NBA Finals debut with a convincing 118-109 victory over defending champions the Golden State Warriors.
Pascal Siakam recorded 32 points, five assists and eight rebounds at Scotiabank Arena to help power the Raptors to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The highly anticipated game – the first NBA Finals match played outside the United States – saw Toronto dominate from the off, notching up a 10-point lead by half-time on the back of a 19-8 run.
The Warriors pushed hard to pull back into contention, closing the gap to three early in the fourth quarter, but Siakam hit an 11th consecutive field goal attempt to keep Toronto in the driving seat.
The side remained at least seven points ahead until the final buzzer.
Kawhi Leonard racked up 23 points and Marc Gasol added 20 as the Raptors refused to be intimidated by a team beginning their fifth straight appearance in the NBA Finals.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 34 points – his sixth playoff game in a row with 30 points or more – and became the first player ever to score 100 three-point field goals in the NBA Finals.
Klay Thompson finished on 21 points, while Draymond Green had a triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Game two of the series will take place in Toronto on Sunday.
While the Golden State Warriors try to cement their legacy as the NBA’s greatest dynasty in half a century, the upstart Toronto Raptors made history just reaching the NBA Finals.
Friday morning’s opener in the best-of-seven championship showdown will be the first NBA Finals game played outside the United States, the Canadian contest coming in the same city where the first league game was played in 1946.
Warriors star Stephen Curry attempts to lead his injury-hit side to their third consecutive NBA title, a feat last achieved by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002, and Golden State could become the first team to win four crowns in five seasons since the 1969 Boston Celtics.
Check out our UAE timings below.
Monday, June 3: Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors – 4AM
Thursday, June 6: Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors – 5AM
Saturday, June 8: Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors – 5AM
Tuesday, June 11: Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors – 5AM
Friday, June 14: Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors – 5AM
Monday, June 17: Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors – 4AM
Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki confirmed his retirement from the NBA on Tuesday, drawing curtains on a 21-season career that saw him become the greatest European player ever in the league’s history.
The 40-year-old was considering extending his career by another season but decided to announce his his retirement after the Mavericks’ 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
“As you guys might expect, this is my last home game,” Nowitzki said at the Dallas’s American Airlines Center.
“I’ve put you guys on a hell of a ride with a lot of ups and downs and you guys always stuck with me and supported me, and I appreciate it,” he added.
Many NBA icons were in the arena as the German bid adieu, including Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and the Mavs’ former German power forward Detlef Schrempf.
Nowitzki ranks sixth on NBA’s all-time points scoring list with more than 31,000. He said he has no plans to leave Dallas post retirement.
“This is my new home,” Nowitzki said. “I left Germany over 20 years ago and became a Texan.”
Nowitzki was chosen as ninth pick in the 1998 NBA draft and went on to lead the Mavericks to 15 playoff appearances.
He powered the the team to their only NBA championship in 2011.