The Golden State Warriors will travel to Toronto on Thursday for the first game of the NBA Finals. The Warriors swept the Trail Blazers,Portland’s coaching staff never made adjustments to the Warriors defense. Steve Kerr’s team double teamed Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum on every ball screen. Both guards struggled in the series and had no answers on offense. The Raptors were down 0-2 to the Milwaukee Bucks before winning 4 straight games. To Toronto’s credit, they adapted in games 3,4,5 and 6. They literally double and triple teamed Giannis Antetokounmpo every time he drove the ball into the paint. Milwaukee never put “The Greek Freak” in the post. That played right into the Raptors defensive game plan.
The Warriors will be making a 5th straight appearance in the NBA finals.LeBron James made it to 8 straight finals with two different teams. The 1960s Boston Celtics were the other team accomplish that goal. From 1956-1966, Boston went to 10 straight finals.
The Warriors defeated the Portland Trail Blazers without Kevin Durant. Draymond Green has been the heart and soul of the GS team. He is averaging 13.6 points. 9.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are averaging 47 points combined. Both players can carry a team in a quarter, for a half or a game. The Warriors wont beat you for a whole game but they will outscore you in a quarter 31-11 or 41-22. They can score in bunches and that leaves teams playing catch up. They come out after half time and put the dagger in teams.
GS doesn’t have a great bench but what they do have is size.
Shaun Livingston is 6’7 at the guard position.
Andre Iguodala is 6’6.
Jordan Bell is 6’9.
Kevin Looney is 6’9.
Andrew Bogut is 7’0 and Joanas Jerebko is 6’10. This 2nd unit can be very good defensively.
Toronto is led by the best 2 way player in basketball, Kawhi Leonard. in 18 playoff games, the former San Antonio Spurs all-star is averaging 38 minutes, 31.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Pascal Siakam is averaging 18 points per game but as the playoffs have progressed, his productivity has diminished. Kyle Lowry is averaging 14 points per game and has gotten better every series. He appears to finally be playing with confidence. The Raptors can shut out teams defensively for 4,5 and 6 minutes. They are very aggressive and can physically push teams around with Danny Green, KL, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
The Big question mark going into this NBA finals is wether or not Kevin Durant is healthy enough to play. Before he injured his calf, KD was averaging 34.2 points per game. He has been the best player in the post-season. Without him the Warriors didn’t miss a beat and every player stepped up in his absence against Portland.
It is simple mathematics here. When healthy, GS has 4 all-stars, Toronto has 1. Norman Powell and Fred VanFleet have provided sparks off the bench, but will the Warriors size give them a problem? It has been a magical run for the Raptors but that all ends over the next 14 days.
The Warriors will win their 4th title in 5 years and win this Series in 6 games.
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