Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors: NBA Finals Preview and Betting Tips

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:24 AM UTC

Wednesday, May. 29, 2019 9:24 AM UTC

The NBA Finals are here. Will the Warriors continue their dynasty or will the Raptors deliver their fans their first championship in franchise history?

<div><h2><b>Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors</b></h2><h2> </h2><p>The NBA Finals are here. Toronto is making its first appearance in franchise history, while Golden State is making its 5th straight Finals appearance. Golden State rolls into the Finals after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers, who happened to be a perfect matchup for them and they took full advantage. Toronto fell behind 2-0, was counted out by most media, and then reeled off 4 straight to secure their spot. This provides us with a very intriguing matchup, as the Cavaliers Warriors Finals were getting stale in my eyes. A fresh foe for the Warriors means new analysis for the series, so let's dig in.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Ahead of the 2019 &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#NBAFinals&lt;/a&gt; Presented by &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@YouTubeTV&lt;/a&gt; beginning Thursday, we look back at the BEST MOMENTS of the &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#NBAPlayoffs&lt;/a&gt; thus far!&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;🚨: GSW/TOR, Game 1&lt;br /&gt;⏰: 9:00pm/et - Thursday, 5/30&lt;br /&gt;πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ: ABC πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦: Sportsnet&lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;β€” NBA (@NBA) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;May 29, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>Steph Curry has returned to his league changing form, dropping at least 30 pts in every game since Kevin Durant has gone out. His primary matchup will be Kyle Lowry, but I expect Kawhi will defend him in crunch time. Another idea is for Toronto to defend Green with Leonard so Leonard would switch onto Curry when the Warriors run the Green/Curry pick and roll, which has become the staple of their offense since Durant went down. This has been tough for teams to guard so the Raptors ability to blunt this play will be crucial to the series. If Toronto can use Siakam and Leonard to slow down this PNR, Toronto has a legitimate shot to win. After having a quiet series against Philadelphia, Lowry contributed greatly in the series against the Bucks. He rediscovered his shooting touch, and was able to get to the rim, either finishing himself or finding an open teammate to keep the offense going. Lowry has been inconsistent in the playoffs and Toronto will need him at his best to win the series.This will be a matchup to watch. The Raptors will need Leonard to slow down Curry when they switch and Lowry's level of play is tantamount to the series outcome.</p><p>Klay Thompson and Danny Green will start at shooting guard for their respective teams. Klay has been the glue for this team, often defending the opponents best scorer and providing offense to keep the game close when Curry is going thru a cold streak. Thompson is underrated and can explode for points when the Warriors need, but doesn't demand the ball or complain about his role. Thompson should share defensive duties on Leonard with Iguodala and Draymond Green. I expect Thompson to be as consistent as usual in his role, shooting at a high percentage and providing quality defense. Danny Green is Toronto's version of Klay, and he had the highest 3 pt % in the league during the regular season. That shooting touch has disappeared, leading to Green not being on the floor during crunch time, yielding to Fred Van Vleet who rediscovered his shooting touch in the last 2 games to propel Toronto to victories. The Raptors will need Green to find that touch if they want to compete against the defending champs.</p><p>Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant both are nursing calf injuries, with health being the huge X factor in this series. If both are able to play at their normal level, the Warriors win this series with ease. If one of the 2 are missing the Warriors have the advantage but it will be very close. If both are not able to return to their top level, Toronto has a great chance to pull the upset. Durant is the best possible option to defend Leonard, having the length and quickness to thwart his drives to the rims and contest jump shots. Iggy, Klay, and Draymond also provide the Warriors with great options and I expect Coach Steve Kerr to vary the looks Kawhi gets in order to keep him from getting into a rhythm and keep his guys fresh. The Raptors need Leonard to be the best player on the floor, and get solid looks in crunch time if they are to win. This is Kawhi's series to put himself in the best player in the world conversation, and I expect him to take full advantage.</p><p>Even greater than Curry's scoring explosion the player who has most stepped up in Durant's absence is Draymond Green. He is competing with Kawhi for best defensive player in the league, with his ability to guard all 5 positions. He has returned to being a focal point in the offense, with the Warriors running a Green Curry PNR over and over to great success. Green has a knack for driving the lane, drawing defenders and then finding the cutter or an open 3 pt shooter for great looks on every possession. I don't expect Toronto to succumb as easy as the Blazers or the Rockets to this strategy and they should be spending most of their prep time on this play. Toronto's acumen on defending the PNR will be crucial to the outcome. On the other side is the breakout player of Toronto's season Pascal Siakam. Siakam has supplanted Lowry as the Raptors #2 option and provides the same style of defense of Draymond. The Raptors will need him to fill his roles adequately to have a chance, but I think he will be up to the challenge. If Siakam can continue his high level of play this could be a breakout series for him with casual NBA fans. This is Siakam's chance to really make a name for himself, and I expect that he will.</p><p>Another health unknown is here at the center position, with Boogie Cousins being rumored to ready to make his return in Game 1. A fully healthy Boogie would be a huge plus for the Warriors and their bench as he could add depth and provide the Warriors with rebounding and half court scoring. If he's not 100% he could mess with the Warriors chemistry and flow, and be a net negative, This is a huge unknown and another one of the reasons the series is so hard to handicap. If Cousins doesn't play the Warriors will rely on Jordan Bell, who has been wildly inconsistent. But all the Warriors need from Bell is to box out and play adequate defense. That will be against Marc Gasol, another savvy midseason pickup form GM Masai Ujiri. Gasol has provided solid rim protection while stretching the floor with his 3 pt shooting ability. If Cousins doesn't play the Raptors will need to exploit this mismatch at center to have a chance.</p><p>With all the injuries, the bench depth matchup is tough to cap. With their players healthy, the Warriors can run a tight 7-8 man rotation and be fine when they go to the bench. If not, Toronto has a huge advantage in this area with Van Vleet, Ibaka and Powell all able to make solid contributions. Ibaka provides defense with a nice jumper, and Powell and Van Vleet can buoy the 2nd unit offensively and bridge gaps or extend leads with the starters on the bench.The Raptors need to be able to win the minutes when the starters are resting, so their bench play will be key.</p><p>There is too much uncertainty with the Warriors health for me to tip a series price. The numbers seem to favor Toronto, as they are generously priced, but if Durant and Iggy are healthy, the price is short. Without solid evidence of their health to base my bet on, I don't have a good recommendation for a series bet, as there are too many variables I can't account for. So Instead I have opted for a fun longshot that I think provides value. Klay Thompson to score the most points in the series. If Toronto focuses on all their defensive efforts on stopping Curry, Thompson could get great looks, and Curry and Green will not hesitate to feed Klay if he is open and get hot. Thompson has a pure jumper and can explode for huge quarters. At a tasty 17.0 this is my best bet for the series.</p><p><a href=";a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a&amp;f=1" target="_blank" title="NBA Betting Odds"><strong><em>Betting Tip: Klay Thompson to score the most points in series @ 17.0 at Unibet</em></strong></a></p></div>
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