The 2019 NBA Finals is at a historic crossroads for both the league and the city of Toronto. Long-suffering Raptors fans who’ve stuck with the team throughout all the ups and downs have been anxiously waiting for this moment. The city of Toronto is on fire – the road to this point was a tough one. Masai Ujiri has proved his worth as the General Manager of the Raptors with a series of gamble that have payed off massively. (No GM in franchise history has been able to bring the team this far). The initially contentious & high-risk pre-season trade of Demar Derozan for superstar Kawhi Leonard and the mid-season trade of Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright & CJ Miles for Mark Gasol created a productive result on the court. Under the direction of head coach Nick Nurse, the Raptors were crowned Eastern Conference Champion for the first time in franchise history.
The Raptors that we have seen in the Finals have put in a true team effort. All the players have played their part to see the team through, including massive contributions of Cameroonian native Pascal Siakam. Siakam had an incredible season and impressed the fans and NBA audience with a 32-point performance in game one of the finals which is no coincidence since he is a candidate for the most improved NBA player for the season 2018/2019.
AfrilandEnt’s correspondence team is present in Toronto, covering the first two games of the series, with the Raptors and Warriors currently tied 1-1. Raptors have been giving the Warriors a significant challenge with home court advantage with a game 1 win, but Game 2 saw a fiery response from the Warriors, who came back after the half to capture the win.
The presence of Pascal Siakam has brought a lot of attention to the Finals from fans in Africa, eager to witness history in the making along with fellow teammate Serge Ibaka, originally from Congo Brazzaville. AfrilandEnt reporter Meliza Hernandez asked Pascal Siakam in a post-game interview; “How does it feel to have the entire continent supporting, especially being the first Cameroon in the NBA Final”?
Siakam responded, “I think it’s amazing, it just shows the growth of the continent, Cameroon, basketball in Africa in general, kind of be at this stage and represent the continent I feel blessed, it just want the game to continue in Africa and for kids to see this and hopefully it inspire them”
Nick Nurse also expressed his feelings to AfrilandEnt after the game how the squad needs to win atleast one of the best two games in Oakland.
With the next 2 games in Oakland ? The Warriors will be playing with home court advantage, however they will be without team stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, as well as important role player Kevin Thompson, as well as important role player Kevon Looney, however we will all see the outcome on the court this Wednesday Jun the 06th, 2019.
By Yussuf Yanni