TORONTO - Since training camp opened six months ago, the Golden State Warriors have been searching for a complete game.
That goal continued to elude them Thursday night, as turnovers and subpar defense doomed the Warriors to a 118-109 Game 1 NBA Finals opening loss to the Raptors.
In 48 minutes, the champs nearly doubled the Raptors in turnovers, failing to get back in transition. With Game 2 less than 48 hours away, the team will look for a remedy.
"I don't think we played our "A" game," Warriors coach said Friday afternoon. "I think that's obvious. I think we did some good things and there are a lot of areas we need to improve."
Showing clear signs of rust after nine days off, Golden State allowed Toronto to shoot 50 percent, led by forward Pascal Siakam, who scored 32 points on 14-of-17 from the field. Marc Gasol scored 20 points while Kawhi Leonard added 23 points as Toronto's starting five outscored the Warriors' unit 93-73, aided by 24 fastbreak points and Golden State's 17 turnovers.
"It's a team effort, five-man group," Kerr said. "And if your transition defense is bad, then there's not a whole lot you can do because you're talking about the best players in the world coming downhill in a fast game, five-on-four or four-on-three, It's just too easy to score for any team, but especially a team like Toronto that's in The Finals."
"All transition defense is is effort and communication," Warriors forward Draymond Green added. "So it's on us to make sure that we make that effort in getting back and getting our defense set and communicating -- who has ball, who is picking up shooters."
Entering Thursday's opening game, the Warriors had nine full days of no postseason games, three of which were taken off completely. While the rest helped the Golden State heal their battered roster - no amount of team scrimmages can replicate a game. In an effort to match up better with Toronto, Kerr elected to start Jordan Bell. The maneuver didn't help, as the Raptors, led by Siakam, attempted tp run the Warriors out of the gym.
"They definitely have a lot of speed," Green said. "I think we definitely come across some teams with a lot of speed. But we have seen it now. You can hear about it all you want. Our coaching staff has preached about it since we found out we were playing them: transition defense, transition defense. It's different once you see it and once you feel it."
While Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists - his XX triple-double of the postseason - his six turnovers hindered the Warriors ability to find a rhythm, as the team gave the ball away 17 times.
Still, despite their poor play, the Warriors had their chances. When Toronto took a 79-68 lead with 4:19 to go in the third quarter, Golden State used a 13-6 run to cut the lead to four. Early in the fourth quarter, when the Raptors pushed their lead back to eight, Golden State used a quick 6-1 run to cut the lead to three with ten minutes to go.
In two regular-season matchups, neither team came into a game with their full squad on the floor, leading to a feeling out process through the first two quarters. Now, with Game 1 behind them, the champs will be looking to improve Sunday evening.
"Now that we got a feel for it, we know how to adjust," Green said. "We know how important that it is, and it's on us to then make the effort.