It’s that time again. The excitement of the NBA Finals is here and we have a strong matchup on our hands. The dynasty that is the Golden State Warriors will take on the Toronto Raptors, and it all starts with Game 1 on Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. So will we see Golden State hang another banner or will the Raptors end their streak? We’ll break down the matchup and odds here, but either way, fingers crossed for a Game 7!
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Will the Golden State Warriors do it again?
The fact that the Warriors are back in the Finals is definitely not a shocker. They’re the reigning champs of the NBA and have been for three out of the past four years. And the Warriors have only lost one game in their past two trips to the Finals, combined. Let that sink in. Head coach Steve Kerr would love to solidify his team as one of the best dynasties in sports history with yet another Larry O’Brien trophy, but this time the Warriors will be meeting someone besides the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals…
After knocking off the Houston Rockets in the second round, it was pretty much smooth sailing to the Western Conference Championships for the Warriors. They ended their final series by beating the worn-out Portland Trail Blazers 4-0 and have since been resting up for a date with an undetermined Eastern Conference Champ… until Saturday night anyway. Now we know they’ll face the Raptors and star player Kawhi Leonard.
Golden State isn’t perfect right now though. The Warriors have had issues with injuries in the postseason and so far, Demarcus Cousins has been cleared to play while Kevin Durant has not. We don’t have any sort of estimate for when KD comes back. Ah, the plot thickens…
The good news is that they still have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Green, who are honestly probably good enough to win it without Durant. Of course, they’d be better with him and fans are anxiously awaiting his return. With Thompson and Durant becoming free agents this summer, this is likely our last chance to see this particular Warriors dynasty take home the NBA Championship, which is all the more motivation for them… and all the more reason for ticket prices to go sky high. If you want to go to the Finals this year, don’t wait! The more intense the action gets, the higher they’ll go.
But could the Toronto Raptors unseat the champs?
We got this one wrong. We fully expected to see the Bucks in the Finals, but the Raptors proved to have some extreme perseverance in their series against the Milwaukee Bucks, coming back from an 0-2 deficit early on with four straight victories to win the series 4-2 this weekend.
This Toronto team has been pushing for a spot in the 2019 Finals since the offseason with aggressive trade moves and coaching staff changes. Now they’ve got what they wished for (despite all that Drake drama). This is the first-ever Finals for the Raptors franchise and you can bet they’ll make the most of it.
Some sports experts, like those at ESPN, are claiming that this Raptors team is the toughest opponent the Warriors have ever faced in the Finals since KD came onboard. Yes, it’s a controversial claim (considering, uh, King James was on all those Cavaliers teams) but the Raptors have a star in Kawhi Leonard and they’ve got more depth around him than the Cavs had around Lebron for two years.
Before the Conference Finals, head coach Nick Nurse said his team needed to improve to survive and boy, did they. Their defensive players shined and their off-the-bench players performed against a stacked Bucks team. Toronto is versatile and Leonard is a cold blooded. The man is healthy and he’s having an epic postseason right now – better than any other individual player out there. If everyone on his team can match Leonard’s level of focus, they might stand a chance.
Also dangling in the air is the prospect of Leonard’s free agency this summer. The Raptors fought hard for him to be the centerpiece of their team. If an NBA Championship can’t keep him around, what can?
NBA Finals Odds
Vegas has picked a favorite. They’re going with Golden State for all the marbles. The Warriors opened at -275 to win the NBA Finals while the Raptors were at +225. Money has since flooded in for Golden State and now they’re sitting at -300 and the Raptors are up to +240.
Despite all that, the Warriors are one-point underdogs in Game 1 at Scotiabank. It’s sure to be intense. Will you be watching?
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