The Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals, but things will feel a little bit different for them this season. That’s because it will be the Toronto Raptors, not the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will be squaring off with them. Toronto will actually have home-court advantage in this series and will host Game 1 on Thursday night.
The Raptors got down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks, but they turned things around in a hurry. Toronto won four straight games to close out the series in Game 6 and will be making their first appearance in the NBA Finals in franchise history. Golden State was able to get some rest after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in just four games in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are a -1.0 point favorite over the Raptors in Game 1 of the series.
Curry Playing Like MVP Again
Most people thought that the Warriors were done when Kevin Durant went down with a calf injury, but Stephen Curry had other plans. Curry scored at least 36 points in each of the four games in the Western Conference Finals and proved why he was a two-time league MVP. His running mate Klay Thompson is averaging 19.1 points during this playoff run as well, and stopping the “Splash Brothers” will be the Raptors’ top priority.
Kevin Durant might not return at all for this series, but DeMarcus Cousins is expected to be back at some point. With both of them out for Game 1, look for Draymond Green to play a huge role in this game as well. Green had back-to-back triple-doubles to close out the Portland series, and the ball is in his hands a lot more with Durant out. Golden State is averaging over 117 points per game during the postseason.
Raptors Will Need Their Bench
Bench scoring hasn’t always been there for the Toronto Raptors, but they got it when they needed it against the Milwaukee Bucks. Backup point guard Fred VanVleet was the hero for the Raptors in Game 5, knocking down seven three-pointers in the victory. Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka have combined for 16 points per game in the playoffs, but they have both been scoring better of late as well. Toronto will need plenty of depth to beat the Warriors.
Kawhi Leonard has been the biggest star throughout the playoffs and has been doing it all for the Raptors. Leonard is averaging 31.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in leading his team and is also their best defender. Point guard Kyle Lowry has been playing great as well and leads the team with 6.4 assists. Leonard will lead the charge for Toronto, but Lowry and the bench will need to chip in.
Raptors Win Series Opener
The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the series, but playing in Toronto is never easy. The Raptors are coming into this game with a ton of momentum, and their crowd will play a huge role in this game. Look for Toronto to get enough stops to pull out a victory in the series opener. Bet the Toronto Raptors +1.0 over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1.