LOS ANGELES: The NBA pre-season tipped off on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) with the Toronto Raptors making a statement before handing the Golden State Warriors a 97-93 defeat in Vancouver.
Raptors players stood with arms locked during both the Canadian and US national anthems in their version of the controversial anthem protests sparked by NFL player Colin Kaepernick as a comment on social injustice and racial inequality.
With that message sent, the Raptors went on to spoil Kevin Durant’s first game with his new Warriors team.
Four-time NBA scoring champion Durant, who departed the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors on a two-year, $54.3 million deal, was booed by fans, who apparently feel his move to Golden State — the 2015 NBA champions who came within one game of a title repeat last season — is an attempt to take a shortcut to a title.
Durant scored nine points and pulled down four rebounds while reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry added eight for Golden State.
DeMarre Carroll led the Raptors with 14 points.
Cameroon’s Pascal Siakam, drafted 27th overall by the Raptors in June, had nine points, eight rebounds, an assist, a steal and two blocked shots, scoring off an offensive rebound to put Toronto ahead by four with 8.5 seconds remaining.
“I was nervous, I’m not going to lie,” Siakam said of entering the game and being assigned to guard Durant.
“This is the guy you watch on TV,” Siakam said. “You look up to and you get to play your first minutes against him. I was nervous, but at the same time it was like, ‘Hey man, you’re here.’”