Greenberg: Raptors Won Without Kawhi At His Peak

Toronto beat Golden State without getting a great game from Kawhi Leonard, which is an "incredibly positive sign," Jared Greenberg says

The DA Show
May 31, 2019 - 12:41 pm

The Toronto Raptors didn’t just win Game 1 of the NBA Finals; they won Game 1 of the NBA Finals despite Kawhi Leonard being ho hum, at least by his standards. Leonard shot 5-of-14 from the floor and finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

It has to be a good sign for the Raptors that they beat Golden State without a Herculean effort from Leonard, no?

“Oh, totally,” NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg said on The DA Show. “Absolutely. I think one of the biggest questions coming into this series was, ‘If you’re going to give Toronto a chance, is there any way that they can win this series without Kawhi Leonard being the Finals MVP?’ From everyone I spoke to, and the conclusion I came to, was the only chance they do have to win the title this year is if Kawhi Leonard is the Finals MVP. I don’t know if they can sustain what they did last night, but I think it’s an incredibly positive sign that they were able to win a game when you know Kawhi has the ability to raise his game two or three notches.”

Toronto won 118-109, with four Raptors scoring 15+ points, including Pascal Siakam, who shot 14-of-17 from the floor and scored a team-high 32 points. Golden State, meanwhile, shot just 43.6 percent from the floor and struggled to find scoring outside of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

Any chance Kevin Durant feels vindicated right now?

“No,” Greenberg said. “We’re all human beings, and we all have jealousy and we all have envy, and that’s part of life, but I also think some of us lose perspective on what it’s like to be part of a team. While I’m not going to sit here and say Kevin Durant hasn’t thought about free agency or hasn’t thought about his next move, I will say that I believe him when he says there’s a 100 percent buy-in on this team. I don’t think there’s a part of him that goes home last night to his hotel room and says, ‘All right! See? They’re not better (without) me!’”

In part because, well, that’s ludicrous.

“I think the people who were speculating that they are better without him are people who are just trying to stir up nonsense,” Greenberg said. “You can’t in any way fathom how the best player in the world not being on your team makes you better. So I don’t think he entertains that.”