MONTREAL - The Raptors face a tall task in the NBA Finals, but Max Domi believes a player the likes of Carey Price will ultimately lead them to victory in the end.
The Raptors begin their quest for NBA supremacy on Thursday night when they play host to the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. As a loyal Raptors fan, Domi didn't shy away from sharing his prediction on the way things will play out in the best-of-seven series.
"Golden State is such a good team, but we won both games against them during the regular season. We also have home court advantage and we have Kawhi Leonard. It's just like having Carey Price on your team. You have a chance to win every night because he's the best," explained the Canadiens' forward. "You can't forget that the Warriors also have four great players. I think it will be a great series and the Raptors are going to win it in seven games."
Leonard, who was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs on July 18 in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poetl and a first-round pick, is enjoying an outstanding playoff run. The 27-year-old American is averaging 31.2 points per game during the postseason. With his help, the Raptors are making their first NBA Finals appearance since the franchise was created in 1995.
Domi has attended several Raptors playoff games up to the point, and he can't help but think about what the Bell Centre atmosphere would be like if the Canadiens went on a similar run as well.
"It's incredible to see the team reach the Finals, not just for the city, but also for the country. It's so much fun to see the guys play live and experience that playoff atmosphere. Seeing that, I can only imagine just how impressive the atmosphere in Montreal will be come playoff time," stressed the Canadiens' centerman. "That makes me really excited for next season."
Having grown up in Toronto when his father, Tie, was still playing for the Maple Leafs, Domi had the chance to follow the Raptors from a young age. He still shares that same passion for the squad with his dad.
"My dad has been taking me to games since I was a kid, back when the team was still playing at Skydome. I was really young, but I still remember watching Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and a bunch of other guys," mentioned the Habs' No. 13. "It's very fun to finally see the team reach their full potential. They had so many good teams, but they always struggled to get past the first round for some reason. It's great to finally see them succeed."
A remarkable scene
Domi was among the Raptors faithful in attendance at Scotiabank Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 24-year-old forward witnessed a moment that will undoubtedly hold a special place in NBA history as Leonard nailed a buzzer-beater to send the Raptors to next round.
"It was pure madness. It was probably the coolest sports moment I've seen live in my life. It was completely crazy," shared Domi.
Since then, footage of the famous shot has spread across the globe, and Domi can brag that he saw it happen in person.
Another scene that has drawn a lot of attention on social media lately has been rapper Drake's massaging of Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.
To be honest, the Canadiens' leading point-getter this past season has enjoyed every second of it.
"I love that. He has done so much for this city and this team. I'm lucky to know him a bit and I can guarantee that he's a good guy and a very humble guy. He works really hard and he deserves all of his success," praised Domi. "He's a basketball fan. He was a Raptors fan before he was Drake. I respect that. He wants his team to be successful."
Even though he loved seeing Drake's interaction with the Raptors' bench boss, he won't be doing something similar with head coach Claude Julien.
"No, I definitely won't be massaging Claude during a game, but it wouldn't bother me to see someone else do it," concluded Domi with a laugh.