Because of the unfamiliarity between the teams, it was hard to predict how Game 1 of NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors would unfold. Who would guard Kawhi Leonard? How much would DeMarcus Cousins play? How would the Raptors handle Stephen Curry?

Despite the uncertainty, however, one aspect of the game plan was pretty much universally agreed upon before the series began: Toronto needs to slow things down to have a chance.

Running with the Warriors is a mistake made by many teams left blindsided in the wake of Golden State's playoff reign of terror over the past five seasons, and particularly without Kevin Durant, they've been playing faster and quicker. So it was a bit surprising that at the end of Game 1, as Toronto -- and all of Canada -- celebrated a 118-109 win in their first-ever NBA Finals game, a major factor was thoroughly dominating the Warriors in transition.

The first quarter was basically a track meet combined with a 3-point shooting contest -- the teams combined to launch 24 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes. Things slowed down a bit as the game went on, and the final pace of the game (97 possessions, according to was similar to what the Raptors have been playing throughout the playoffs. But Toronto almost flawlessly chose opportune times to get out on the break, many times after forcing turnovers, and executed brilliantly once they got there. It ended up being the difference in the game.

"The biggest thing for me was our transition defense was just awful and that's the game," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. "That's the No. 1 priority when you play Toronto, you have to take care of their transition and we gave up 24 fast-break points, we turned it over 17 times. So that's the game, really. The other stuff, guys are going to make shots, miss shots, they're going to have good games, they're going to have bad games, but it's kind of the key points that you can take care of that are the most important, and we didn't take care of that transition."

The main splinter in Golden State's championship ring finger was Pascal Siakam, who was brilliant with 32 points on 14-of-17 (!) field goal shooting. He hit two 3-pointers and two mid-range jumpers, but other than that all of Siakam's damage was done at the rim. Check out this shot chart:


"I think obviously getting some easy buckets in transition, something that I haven't really been able to do all playoffs, and I think just being able to run and getting easy baskets at the rim," Siakam said when asked how he was able to get going in Game 1. "And then from there just playing, just playing whatever defense gives me, that's why I always say, kind of play off of that and whatever is open, just taking it with confidence and believing in myself."

Kerr said before the series that Siakam reminded him of Draymond Green and, while Draymond isn't going to give you 32 points in a Finals game very often, the way that Siakam relentlessly and wisely pushed the pace was reminiscent of the Warriors' unflappable engine.

But it wasn't just Siakam. The Raptors looked to push whenever possible -- capitalizing on 17 Golden State turnovers and 44 missed shots -- even when the Warriors appeared to have defenders in position to stop them. As a result they kept the Golden State defense on its heels and forced scrambling situations that led to missed rotations and wide-open shots. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It's exactly what the Warriors offense is predicated upon. This time around, the Raptors beat them at their own game.

In case you don't watch the Warriors very often, there aren't many possessions where all five players on the court throw their hands up in confusion and disbelief after giving up a basket. That's the kind of pressure the Raptors put on them on Thursday. They even looked to push off of made baskets, giving the Warriors a taste of their own medicine and producing the prettiest play of the entire game (though Marc Gasol may or may not have committed an inbound violation).

The Raptors forcing the issue in transition was clearly a success in Game 1, but it certainly begs the question of whether they're playing with fire when it comes to the rest of the series. Assuming the Warriors take care of the ball a bit more and shoot a little bit better, is Toronto better off slowing things down rather than getting into a sprinting contest with Golden State?

Raptors coach Nick Nurse seems to be content playing with pace and pushing in transition, but he said the biggest thing is that they take good shots, and preferably make them, no matter how they get them. If they miss or turn the ball over, it will send the Warriors out to the races.

"I think again, as I kept saying in the Milwaukee series, offense is really important for us here, taking care of the ball and getting shots, and getting some to go through the net because if they take it from you, they're down the floor in a hurry, probably spraying for a 3," Nurse said after Game 1. "And if they're playing off the rim all the time, they're coming downhill fast at you and either at the rim or spraying."

To that point, Toronto turned the ball over only 10 times in Game 1 and shot 50.6 percent from the field, 39.4 percent on 3-pointers. They effectively won the transition battle by putting shots through the net. In Game 2, however, Golden State will undoubtedly focus on limiting transition and hope that they can have a similar defensive effort against Kawhi Leonard, whom they held to 5-for-14 shooting from the field. And with a lot of film to watch before Sunday, the Warriors could be much more lethal if the Raptors want to push the pace once again.

"Siakam obviously had a game of his playoff life. Give him credit, running the floor. So we'll have to get back on defense next game and really limit their transition points, make them beat us in the half court," Klay Thompson said after the game. "Yeah, we did a good job of limiting Kawhi, but it's not Kawhi Leonard, it's the Raptors. So we'll go back to the drawing board and see what we can do better for Sunday."