• Jerrod Mustaf

A star is born as Siakam shines in Finals Game 1

Game 1 of the NBA Finals was a watershed moment of diversity and inclusion as the two-time NBA champion Golden State Warriors fell to Canada’s Toronto Raptors 118-109. Canada’s lone NBA franchise made their Finals debut against perhaps the biggest NBA dynasty since the Boston Celtics teams of the 60’s. Even with the Warriors superstar Kevin Durant sidelined for Game 1, Golden State were listed as overwhelming favorites.

Toronto was able to overcome a somewhat pedestrian performance from their super star Kawhi Leonard who scored 23 points because of the stunning emergence of Cameroonian Pascal Siakam, who led the Raptors with 32 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Siakam proved to be a devastating mismatch for Golden State’s NBA All-Defensive second team player Draymond Green, who struggled mightily to contain the Raptors forward. Siakam scored in a variety of ways, including three-pointers, drives to the basket and post-ups with Green as the primary defender.

One of the highlights of Game 1 was the patience of Siakam introducing the basketball world to the beautiful execution of his ‘Afro-step’, when he craftily side-stepped the Warrior defenders on the fast break during the second half. That move patented by former Golden State player Sarunas Marciulionis as the ‘Euro-step’ will be re-dedicated as the Afro-step going forward due to it’s appropriation by African forwards Siakam and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This brash entrance of Pascal Siakam to the NBA Finals has served notice of another star in the North!

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