Toronto Raptors Look To Finish Off Golden State

Is this how it ends for the Golden State Warriors ‘three-peat’? Not with a ‘bang’ but with the proverbial ‘whimper’? It sure looks like it. The Warriors have been a pale imitation of their previously dominant selves during the NBA Finals. With the exception of a solid effort in winning Game Two they have been manhandled by Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors. Nowhere was this more evident than in Games 3 and 4 in Golden State. The Warriors needed to come away with at least a split on their home floor were they to have a realistic chance of winning this series. Instead, the Raptors won both games by double digits.

Even without Kevin Durant, the Warriors looked to be back in Championship form as they took care of the final two games against Houston and then ripped through the Portland Trailblazers in four straight games. A split in the first two games in Toronto made it six wins in seven games for Golden State though it didn’t help their ‘financial backers’ much. The Warriors have now gone 4-7-1 against the number in their last 12 games. That’s not really surprising given how utterly miserable Golden State has been against the spread this season. It almost defies comprehension that the New York Knicks lost less money for bettors this season than have the Golden State Warriors through Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Knicks ‘only’ dropped -18.7 units on the season. Golden State–despite being a world away from the Knicks by winning nearly 70% of their games straight up–has actually lost -19.7 units against the spread.

Durant is listed as ‘questionable’ for Game 5 as he continues to rehab his calf injury. He may decide to give it a go here with the Warriors’ season on the line but logic dictates that if he had been able to play effectively he would have done so before now. At this stage of the playoffs, even a monster performance by Durant would be ‘too little too late’ against a Toronto team that has shown no signs of fading. One thing about this series has been obvious–should the Raptors end up winning the NBA crown there’s no acceptable answer for Finals MPV than ‘Kawhi Leonard’. Leonard has done it before–he won the Finals MVP as a member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2014–but there’s a compelling case to be made that he’s currently playing the best basketball of his career. Leonard has been a beast in the postseason averaging 31.1 points per game, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

There’s not much to suggest that Golden State can get this series back to California for Game 6, let alone come back to complete the ‘three peat’. Only once in NBA Finals history has a team down 3-1 come back to win. A healthy Golden State team could be a strong candidate to be the second but that’s definitely not the case. Down the very end, the Warriors appear to be overvalued against the NBA betting line. The Raptors win the first NBA Championship in franchise history.


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