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Raptors’ Boucher sorry for breaking isolation, thinks he has proven he can play in NBA | Toronto Sun

Yes, Boucher, a third-year big man with the Toronto Raptors, would be the first to tell you that he shouldn’t have gone to a downtown grocery store on March 12, but he thought in the moment it was OK because he had tested negative for COVID-19.

“What really happened to me was just that for a minute I needed to get stuff for me to survive, really. Like I didn’t have nothing and I didn’t want to trust Uber Eats or anything and all that, especially knowing the way the virus was spreading,” Boucher told English and French-speaking reporters on a conference call on Wednesday afternoon.

“So I got my test and they were saying that I was negative. So now I know that I can’t do nothing to people so I just wanted to get my groceries done. It’s not like I wanted to be seen. Somebody just took a picture, knew where I was. It’s unfortunate,” Boucher said.

Toronto had played the Utah Jazz only days earlier and all the players had been tested and ordered into self-isolation.

“I can’t do nothing, but that’s not something I was trying to do. Nobody wants to get that virus. I don’t want to give it to nobody if I had it. Definitely I should have just stayed home and that’s why I felt like I had to apologize because, even if I knew that I didn’t have it, it’s not acceptable,” said Boucher, who was born in Saint Lucia, but moved to Montreal when he was five and was raised there.

Since completing protocols, Boucher has been following procedures, trying to stay in shape and stave off boredom while also worrying about relatives he can’t go and see since he’s stuck in Toronto.

“Basically, it’s really hard. I don’t have family close, my family is in Montreal, so Toronto is kind of where I had to stay for the whole time, just trying to figure things out. Sometimes it could be something real easy like (toilet paper) or Lysols or stuff to clean the house, stuff like that. That’s when you realize that (you’re not) going outside,” he said.

Boucher commended the Raptors for doing their best to check in on their players.

“With (video), you actually can lift with Jonny (Lee), our strength and conditioning coaches. I have done a lot of that. The team did a good job to make sure that doctors can call us every day to make sure we’re OK. The rest of it is really a lot of figuring out how it will work when we get busy. Because after like two weeks, you’re like, vacation or not, pandemic now, you just want to be doing something,” Boucher said.

Raptors’ Stunning Comeback Cracks NBA Season’s Defining Moments – The Ringer

Nurse, perhaps the NBA’s most daring coach when it comes to just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what happens, decided to dial up a full-court 1-2-1-1 diamond press in hopes of generating more possessions for the comeback effort and forcing the Luka-less Mavericks into making some mistakes. It worked like a charm: The length of Boucher, Miller, and Davis, and the ever-revving motors of trappers Lowry and Hollis-Jefferson, forced seven fourth-quarter turnovers, many leading directly to free throws or layups that helped the Raptors cut into the lead—and, perhaps even more importantly—find their long-awaited rhythm.

Lowry was ice-cold for three quarters, but he started to get warm as the pace picked up. After cutting the lead down to 13 with just over eight minutes left, the six-time All-Star drilled a stepback 3 to force a Dallas timeout. On Toronto’s next trip, he nailed another, this time falling out of bounds and over the outstretched arm of ex-teammate Delon Wright to get the Raptors within single digits.

The 14-year veteran had absolutely everything working in that final frame—change-of-pace probes for floaters, bulldozing drives all the way to the rim, pull-up triples in transition—and it completely knocked the Mavericks back on their heels. Lowry poured in 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the fourth alone and notched a pair of dimes, including a dump-off pass to a rolling Boucher for a dunk with 25.8 seconds to go that put Toronto ahead for good.

”All [Lowry] said was ‘keep pushing,”’ Boucher told reporters. “He led us the right way, put us in great spots. Kyle does that every time. Even when people don’t see it. Kyle’s a great leader.”

It’s the same sort of praise Lowry elicited from teammates during last June’s NBA Finals, when he finally shed all the shade about how he shrunk in the playoffs on his way to his first NBA championship. Lowry’s nuclear start to Game 6 in Oakland—11 points on four shots in the first two and a half minutes, a loud and unmistakable message, right out of the gate, that Toronto wasn’t fucking losing tonight—was one of my favorite moments of last season. What makes Lowry special, though, is that he doesn’t need a championship on the line to get to that place; he’s not fucking losing tonight when he’s down 30 three nights before Christmas, either.

Nurse, perhaps the NBA’s most daring coach when it comes to just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what happens, decided to dial up a full-court 1-2-1-1 diamond press in hopes of generating more possessions for the comeback effort and forcing the Luka-less Mavericks into making some mistakes. It worked like a charm: The length of Boucher, Miller, and Davis, and the ever-revving motors of trappers Lowry and Hollis-Jefferson, forced seven fourth-quarter turnovers, many leading directly to free throws or layups that helped the Raptors cut into the lead—and, perhaps even more importantly—find their long-awaited rhythm.

Lowry was ice-cold for three quarters, but he started to get warm as the pace picked up. After cutting the lead down to 13 with just over eight minutes left, the six-time All-Star drilled a stepback 3 to force a Dallas timeout. On Toronto’s next trip, he nailed another, this time falling out of bounds and over the outstretched arm of ex-teammate Delon Wright to get the Raptors within single digits.

Lakers staying close via virtual workouts while social distancing

Although Lakers players were placed into a 14-day, self-isolation period after two unnamed players tested positive for COVID-19 and the team continues to practice social distancing through the government-mandated April 30 time frame, it’s no surprise they’re trying to come together while being physically apart.

“For the guys, we work hard with our strength and conditioning staff to make sure they have fitness bundles delivered to them where we can do Zoom workouts,” Rob Pelinka, the team’s vice president of basketball operations and general manager, said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters. “This is a team that just loved being together, whether it was on the bench, on the bus, in the locker room. These guys just have a great chemistry of being together. So they’ve tried to stay as connected as possible in the ways they can, working out together virtually.”

Pelinka took advantage of the technology, as well, conducting the call over Zoom — a video-conferencing service — with about a dozen reporters who regularly cover his team.

The Lakers’ executive — who said he keeps a quote from Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, on his desk: “Sport has the power to change the world” — thinks that resuming the NBA season could bring people around the globe together once the coronavirus crisis is contained.

Pelinka, who was Kobe Bryant’s longtime agent before he worked for the Lakers and was the godfather of Bryant’s daughter Gianna, said the organization could benefit from a little Mamba Mentality right now.

“I have to believe these hard things will be redeemed. That’s just the way I live because I think that in a time like this, a friend like Kobe is especially missed,” Pelinka said. “If you were on a night’s journey with him, and a huge, fire-breathing dragon ended up in the pathway ahead, he would say, ‘OK, this is why this is good right now. We’re going to meet this challenge, and here’s how we’re going to get around it, and here’s how we’re going to defeat it.'”

Despite all the challenges that exist, Pelinka can’t help but be optimistic.

“I think all of us right now have to live with hope, and we have to live with faith and trust and courage and those attributes because it’s a really, really hard and dark time for the world,” Pelinka said. “And so I’m going to choose to fix most of my thoughts on that we will have a chance to finish the season. I think that would be a great thing for us.

Warriors’ Bob Myers uses sports analogy to give coronavirus optimism | NBCS Bay Area

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down. The impact has been devastating so far.

But Warriors general manager Bob Myers struck an optimistic tone Wednesday morning when talking to Abe Madkour of the Sports Business Journal:

“This is the first quarter of a tough game and we’re down. But we can come back and we will. I don’t think anything’s decided — like I said in my game analogy — in the first quarter of a game.

“It feels daunting. It feels difficult. But this country is tremendous, and human beings are. I have great faith in what we can do medically and scientifically. And our perseverance.

“And so I think we’ll be back and the leagues will be back. There’s a thirst for what sports does around the world and we need it. It’s a huge part of our fabric. In every culture through time, and I think it will always be there.

“Sports — it’s something that brings us together, it’s something that excites us, it tests us, it challenges us. Whether you’re on my daughters playing on their first-grade team or a professional athlete — there’s something to sports that is magical.

“And I think we’re in a moment now where we’ve had to pause it, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna stop. So for the people listening — I don’t know that they need me to tell them — it’s gonna be fine. Doesn’t mean it’s gonna be fine tomorrow. But it’s gonna be fine.

“And it when it is, we’ll come out of it stronger, we’ll come out of it better and much more knowledgeable.”

Coronavirus: Lakers’ LeBron James says he wouldn’t be able to have closure if NBA season gets canceled – CBSSports.com

In a conference call on Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James spoke about those conflicting ideas and another of other topics — including the hit documentary series Tiger King. While he obviously thought the Lakers were in position to challenge for a title — so did everyone else — perhaps the most interesting thing LeBron said was about how he’ll feel if there are no more games.

“I don’t think I would be able to have any closure if we did not have an opportunity to finish the season,” LeBron said.

Given that there’s been an NBA champion every year since 1947, this really is a brand new issue. There have been plenty of years where injuries or bad calls or other factors have made you wonder “what if?” but nothing to this extent; at least in those cases there was still always a winner.

If the season ends up getting shut down completely, there will be no way to know how things would have played out. And while that’s too bad for fans and media, it’s even worse for the players. We could still argue and debate and come up with simulations to try and imagine the outcomes, and at the end of the day this is just entertainment for us.

For the players, it’s their entire lives. Everything they do every single day is with one goal in mind: winning a title. To have that taken away by something completely out of their control would be a real punch to the gut.

Coronavirus: Stark contrast between NBA and NFL responses

As the self-imposed 30-day mark neared, Silver appeared on a live broadcast on the league’s Twitter feed to announce the extension of the league’s suspension until at least May. He confirmed reports that the NBA is considering all possibilities, including a shortened season and a return to a single site without fans, and outlining potential drop-dead dates for this season before it negatively impacts the 2020-21 campaign.

The NBA has not been without its failings. The league remained on schedule until Gobert’s positive test, even as a San Francisco ordinance required the Golden State Warriors to plan for games without fans. The widespread testing of asymptomatic players as states struggled to obtain kits for the ailing infected was a bad look, and it took public pressure for the Philadelphia 76ers to reverse course on slashing salaries.

Whatever critique you might have of the NBA’s approach to the pandemic, the league has clearly communicated with its employees and fans every step of the way in a manner that has better informed everyone paying attention about the seriousness of the virus and its potential to spread asymptomatically.

On the flip side, we have yet to hear word one from Roger Goodell, outside of a brief statement on New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton’s coronavirus diagnosis and several leaked internal memos, including one that threatened teams with disciplinary action should anyone publicly criticize the league’s plan to conduct the draft as scheduled on April 23-25, albeit virtually. (They proceeded to criticize it anonymously.)

The WNBA has also announced plans to conduct its April 17 draft virtually, although there are far fewer moving parts involved in a single-day, three-round operation with a more clearly defined list of prospects. Clear communication and a less authoritarian leadership also tends to lend itself to fewer vocal critics.

Beyond the optics of conducting free agency and announcing multimillion dollar deals as millions of Americans file for unemployment, the NFL has suppressed internal opinion and led fans to believe longterm coronavirus consequences need not be considered. Where the NBA would like to finish its season in some form by Labor Day, as most everyone would, the NFL is acting as if its Sept. 10 start date is set in stone.

Most striking was NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash’s declaration on a conference call last week that the league plans on “playing a full season starting on schedule and having a full regular season and full set of playoffs,” beginning with training camps in July and a sold-out Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 6. A month before the NFL’s planned schedule release, Pash openly conceded that no contingency plans have been discussed for alternatives to a full season with fans. This falls in line with President Donald Trump’s wishes.

Is bringing back sports during coronavirus realistic or safe? We asked the experts

“The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus,” MLB’s statement read.

In theory, the strategy could work if players adhered to extreme restrictions. In reality, health experts say, it represents a high-stakes gamble.

“Even professional athletes who test negative for COVID-19 with regular testing could be false positives and could get sick,” said Summer Johnson McGee, dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.

The risk is amplified by the nature of athletic competition. There is no room for social distancing amid constant physical contact in football and basketball. Baseball has its tradition of players spitting and managers arguing, nose-to-nose, with umpires.

“It’s not just the games,” Chang said. “Every practice is a high-risk transmission event.”

On a practical level, the Johns Hopkins doctor wonders about a player testing negative before kickoff, then showing symptoms of the virus the following morning.

“Technically,” he said, “all those people who played in the football game should be quarantined for 14 days.”

A single, undetected case of coronavirus could multiply into infections across the league.

“The potential of illness or even death among elite athletes is something that professional sports leagues should not risk,” McGee said.

Though people who are young and fit appear more likely to be asymptomatic or recover from COVID-19 without serious consequence, there is still potential danger. Research of the Spanish Flu of 1918 has shown that when a healthy immune system overreacts to infection, the resulting autoimmune disorders can be more harmful than the disease itself.

“Sometimes the most strapping people are the ones who have the strongest immune response,” said Jackson of UCLA. “It was immune response that killed so many people in 1918, not the virus.”

Coronavirus: Can we restart sports? Not so fast, experts say – Los Angeles Times

For all their concerns, experts see a couple of paths back to the playing field.

The development of a reliable treatment would make COVID-19 both less dangerous and less onerous to the healthcare system. Just as useful, extensive serologic testing could identify players who possess antibodies to fight off the virus.

“Professional athletes who have COVID-19 antibodies playing against other athletes with those antibodies would present zero risk,” McGee said. “This might limit rosters somewhat significantly, but at least games could resume for some teams.”

Such testing could also trigger what Chang calls “a perverse incentive.”

A player who has immunity would become more valuable to his team; a third-stringer could vault into the starting lineup by way of the required antibodies. He could develop those antibodies by surviving the disease.

“If I’m a player and I’m healthy, I might think about that,” Chang said. “I might say, ‘What the hell, let me get infected with coronavirus and I’ll be one of the privileged few.’”

The prospect frightens Jackson.

“The damage this virus does to the lungs is substantial,” he said. “You’re not going to be running a 9.5-second dash after having pneumonia from coronavirus.”

But the allure of sport, especially now, could prompt leagues to continue searching for a way back. The money involved — millions in player contracts, billions in broadcast rights — only boosts the incentive.

As a fan and a doctor, Chang understands the conflicting motivations.

“There is really no way you can have sports without increasing the risk,” he said. “But it may be that our society decides it’s a risk worth taking.”

Coronavirus: Here’s what’s happening in the sports world on Wednesday | CBC Sports

F1 considers considers closed races
Formula One is considering holding closed races without spectators, most likely at European circuits, once the season is able to start after being stalled by the new coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian opener on March 15 was canceled and every race up to the French Grand Prix on June 28 has been postponed so far.

Formula One’s motorsport managing director Ross Brawn told a Sky Sports television ‘vodcast’ that a season of anywhere between eight and 19 races could still be possible.

“At the moment we are looking at the logistics of a closed race, how would we get the people there, how would we protect them, how would we make it safe, who would we allow into the paddock,” he said. “Every permutation is being discussed.”

Last month’s Bahrain Grand Prix was due to be held without spectators, a first for the sport, before it had to be postponed.

The N.B.A. Should Crown a Champion. But Will the Title Count? – The New York Times

Q: Hey @chicagobulls you can’t even get an interview with an assistant G.M. Nobody wants to be associated/work with John Paxson and Reinsdorf. — @matt_samuelson_ from Twitter

Stein: Your dismay is understood, but the Bulls’ situation isn’t quite that dire. Although they’ve indeed missed out on three candidates they wanted to interview to lead a front-office overhaul, two well-regarded candidates remain in contention even after it was made clear that Toronto’s Bobby Webster, Miami’s Adam Simon and Indiana’s Chad Buchanan would not be participating in the interview process.

Utah’s Justin Zanik and Denver’s Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago’s first two interviewees, are highly rated. The Bulls will be lauded if they land either of them.

Chicago has made the playoffs once in the past five seasons. Fan frustration with the owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the front-office duo of John Paxson and Gar Forman has been bubbling for far longer than that. Hopes that ownership would pursue the likes of Toronto’s Masai Ujiri or Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti were snuffed out quickly, presumably because the Bulls are not prepared to compete financially for executives from the league’s top tier — but also because they can’t attract such candidates. The job simply isn’t as desirable as it should be in a major market and considering Chicago’s storied history, given the state of the roster and the organization’s sullied reputation.

Doc Rivers confident Kawhi Leonard would return in top shape

Doc Rivers says he isn’t sure what shape or form the NBA will take if it can resume this season, but he is certain that Kawhi Leonard will be in “phenomenal” shape if there’s a postseason.

As teams try to remain prepared during this unprecedented time, with the season halted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the LA Clippers’ All-Star has been able to do something he wasn’t able to do last summer, when his body was recovering from injuries and a long title run with Toronto, according to Rivers.

“I know Kawhi’s overworking. I can guarantee you that,” Rivers said with a laugh Wednesday on a video call with reporters. “And the difference is, during the summer, Kawhi couldn’t work, you know, so now he’s got this break, and he’s able to train.

“The Kawhi we’ll see will be in phenomenal shape. PG [Paul George] is another guy that’s gonna be in phenomenal shape.”

Chicago Bulls: Front office search was long overdue – Sports Illustrated

As ESPN reported, at this stage the Bulls’ search for a head executive centers on two candidates: Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas and Jazz general manager Justin Zanik, both of whom were permitted to interview with the organization this week. Two other candidates, Pacers GM Chad Buchanan and Heat VP of basketball operations Adam Simon, opted to remain in place. Chatter surrounding Raptors GM Bobby Webster, entrenched in one of the league’s most stable situations in Toronto, has slowed. Karnisovas and Zanik are well-respected figures in league circles and key figures within Western Conference contenders that have successfully built through the draft. Either would be a substantial addition, with a potential wave of front-office hires to follow as the franchise restructures.

Karnisovas has worked under Tim Connelly in Denver since 2013, known as a sharp evaluator with strong international ties. The Nuggets famously plucked Nikola Jokic with the 41st pick in the 2014 draft, among numerous hits in recent years, and boast one of the more well-regarded staffs in the league. He was promoted to GM in 2017 after being up for the Bucks’ vacancy, which ultimately went to Jon Horst. Zanik was also up for that job after working as Milwaukee’s assistant and then interim general manager, but wound up going to Utah in 2017 instead. He has ties to the area after attending Northwestern, was a player agent before moving into the executive ranks, and is lauded for his understanding of structure and level of organization.

Should Masai Ujiri have his jersey retired by the Toronto Raptors? | NBA.com Canada

Yes, I know he didn’t score a basket or make a great defensive play, but Ujiri’s contribution to the Raptors organization is invaluable. We know what he’s done on the court for the franchise, building a championship roster, but what he’s done off the court can’t be overstated. Back in September, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange had Ujiri at the top of the 20 most influential Canadian basketball figures list. Ujiri made it cool to be a Raptor fan and in the process poured gasoline on the fire that was already starting to burn within this hockey nation.

‘We just really wanted to have our own voice back’: Why TSN revived SportsCentre – The Athletic

At 7 p.m., the familiar voice called out from an unfamiliar setting, with Rod Smith opening a show that had been off the air for two weeks because a pandemic had shuttered the business of live sports: “From my home to yours, welcome to SportsCentre.”

He was broadcasting from inside his house. The producer was working from their dining room and the show’s guests appeared against a backdrop of the books and trophies inside their home offices. (Dave Poulin, the former NHL player and executive, also had Scrabble on one of his shelves.)

“We always think it’s important that we’re telling Canadian stories, and we just really wanted to have our own voice back,” said Ken Volden, the vice-president and executive producer at TSN. “As long as it wasn’t putting our people in harm’s way.”

The network ran SportsCentre, its flagship news program, after the NBA and NHL suspended play last month. It was quietly removed from the air as COVID-19 forced real-world shutdowns across Canada, and TSN filled some of the programming gaps with its ESPN-generated counterpart, SportsCenter.

After two weeks, the Canadian version returned on Monday.

On Tuesday, the 30-minute show included news (the CFL delaying the start of its season) and hockey talk (from escrow payments to imagined NHL playoff scenarios). It was rebroadcast on a loop through the morning on Wednesday.

“A lot of this is us learning on the fly, as well, in terms of how we’re actually doing this,” said Volden. “I can’t see us doing anything less than what we’re currently doing. But how much we may expand will depend, quite frankly, on how good we get at doing this, technically.”

Smith writes parts of the script through the day, and an editorial staff working from home writes some of the other parts. There is no camera operator in the room with Smith, and the veteran broadcaster is not reading from a teleprompter when he introduces the various clips and segments.

Leroux: Breaking down the 2020 wing free-agent market (Part One) – The Athletic

Evan Fournier (28) faces the most interesting decision because he can either hit unrestricted free agency this offseason or wait until 2021 via his $17.2 million Player Option. In a normal year, Fournier would ride a successful season into a long-term payday that runs through his early thirties but that is far more complicated with so few teams looking at cap space. He could try to squeeze the Magic but would gain significantly more leverage next summer with so many more potential suitors. Fournier’s agent Bouna Ndiaye may have the single most important job of intelligence gathering this offseason because his client has a lot of money on the line and the league’s attempted clampdown on tampering may have an effect on what front offices are willing to convey about their intentions.

Fourteen months ago, the Knicks traded Tim Hardaway Jr (28) to the Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis deal partially to offload his large salary. It looked like a foregone conclusion that Hardaway Jr would pick up his $19 million Player Option this summer, but he had great timing to have the most efficient season of his career as a starter on a playoff team. Beyond the standard concerns with this small group of cap space teams, Hardaway Jr faces the additional challenge of a Dallas front office reluctant to add guaranteed salary for 2021-22, which looks to be their last chance to add major talent with cap space before Luka Doncic gets a lucrative second contract. Unless the Mavericks are far more willing than expected to give up the possibility of a max contract slot next summer, Hardaway Jr will find an even thornier market and likely pick up his option instead.

Veterans DeMar DeRozan (31 with a $27.7 million Player Option) and Gordon Hayward (30 with a $34.2 million Player Option) face similar choices because both could receive significant contracts in free agency, but not anything near their 2020-21 salaries. So the question will be whether they are willing to take an immediate pay cut to lock in a longer-term commitment. As of now, that feels unlikely with such a soft market but DeRozan’s reported dissatisfaction with the Spurs could shift things enough for him to add a wrinkle to this offseason.

‘It’s not acceptable’: Raptors’ Boucher realizes error of breaking quarantine – Sportsnet.ca

Rather, like the rest of us trying to keep our fridges stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was going on an emergency supply run.

“What really happened to me was just that for a minute I needed to get stuff for me to survive, really.” Boucher said in a conference call Wednesday. “Like, I didn’t have nothing and I didn’t want to trust Uber Eats or anything and all that, especially knowing the way the virus was spreading. So I got my test and they were saying that I was negative. So now I know that I can’t do nothing to people, so I just wanted to get my groceries done.”

Boucher was spotted at a downtown Toronto Loblaws a few days after a mandate went out from the Raptors that players must self-quarantine, and after they found out their tests results came back negative for COVID-19.

The Raptors’ final game prior to the suspension of the basketball season was against Rudy Gobert — the NBA’s patient zero — and the Utah Jazz.

With fears beginning to rise over the severity of the COVID-19 crisis, the photo of Boucher buying groceries prompted widespread shaming and caused the Toronto big man to issue an apology via his Instagram story.

Recalling the incident, Boucher said he realized the error of his ways.

“It’s not like I wanted to be seen,” said Boucher. “Somebody just took a picture, knew where I was. It’s unfortunate. I can’t do nothing, but that’s not something I was trying to do. Nobody wants to get that virus. I don’t want to give it to nobody if I had it.

“Definitely, I should have just stayed home and that’s why I felt like I had to apologize, because even if I knew that I didn’t have it, it’s not acceptable.”

It’s important to remember how different everything was when Boucher decided to make that grocery run.

At the time, the public had only just begun to take the novel coronavirus seriously, and the need for social distancing — as well as the consequences of failing to do so — hadn’t hit home as hard yet.

This is evident in how surprised Boucher was when the NBA suspended its season on March 11.

“It was kind of shocking,” said Boucher. “We weren’t expecting all this to go down that way. We heard all the talk about coronavirus and that, but, at the same time, we didn’t think (it would) go through that.”

Signature moments from each key player on the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals | NBA.com Canada | The official site of the NBA

Siakam made history in Game 1.

In scoring 32 points on 14-for-17 shooting, Siakam became only the seventh player in NBA Finals history to score 30-plus points on 80 percent shooting or better from the field.

You might have heard of some of the players he joined.

Siakam’s 32 points were also the most scored by a player in their Finals debut since Kevin Durant in 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

It’s even more impressive considering Siakam did most of his scoring in Game 1 with Warriors forward Draymond Green, a one-time Defensive Player of the Year, guarding him.

Siakam finished the series averaging 19.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting from the field.

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