NBA Finals – Can Toronto Stop The Warriors?

NBA Finals – Can Toronto Stop The Warriors?

Well, we are finally ready for game one of the 2019 NBA finals and for the 1st time in what seems for a forever we have a different representative for the Eastern Conference in the Toronto Raptors. So the big question is, can they stop the juggernaut – the Golden State Warriors from adding yet another trophy to the cabinet.

Golden State are in their 5th consecutive final, having faced the Lebron James led Cleveland Cavaliers in the 4 previous ones. They won 3 of these finals and took the last 2 by a combined margin of 8 games to 1. The Toronto Raptors, by contrast, are playing in their 1st NBA finals. They are a fairly new franchise (1995) they have only really been a playoff regular over the last few seasons, and they have been greatly helped this year by Lebron James moving over to the Western Conference and the arrival of Kawhi Leonard.

Golden State’s Path to the Final

The Warriors were made to work hard in the 1st 2 rounds, with the LA Clippers and the Houston Rockets both taking them to 6 games. Their opponents managed to rack up points in all of these games with only one not being in triple figures, and this does raise question marks regarding the defensive capabilities. In the Western Conference final, they made short work of Portland beating them 4-0, however, Portland did manage to score in these games. Golden State will be without Kevin Durant in at least game one, but this is slightly less of a problem given the depth of the squad.

Toronto Raptors Path to the Final

The Raptors kicked off the playoffs with a fairly routine win over Orlando, however, Philadelphia took the series to 7 games, and the Milwaukee Bucks were no pushovers in the conference final eventually going down 4-2. It’s difficult to tell whether Toronto will be battle-hardened from this or exhausted. In these final 2 series, the Raptors kept their opponents below 100 points on seven occasions and this defensive capability may prove decisive in the finals.

So who wins?

Golden State with their squad and recent experience are obviously strong favourites, however the injury to Kevin Durant is a blow, and they have shown a penchant’s for giving up points in the playoffs. Toronto has shown their mettle in beating a good Philadelphia side, and possibly more importantly by coming back from 2-0 down against the Bucks.

Whether Toronto can stop Golden State may come down to how long it takes for Kevin Durant to return. In Leonard the Raptors have one of the best two-way players in the game, however, the rest of the squad is not as deep. If Durant misses the first 3 games then we think Toronto will be collecting their 1st ever title, but if he’s back on the court by game 3 then Golden State should just edge it. Overall prediction 4-3 to the Raptors with Leonard getting the Bill Russell MVP award.

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