The Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors will face off in Canada for the first game of the 2019 NBA Finals. For the Warriors, it will be the reigning world champions fifth final appearance in a row. As for the team up north, it is the Raptors first NBA Finals appearance in its team’s history.
As it appears unlikely that Warriors’ superstar Kevin Durant will feature in this series, many are debating if this will help the Raptors or perhaps strengthen the Warriors team even more. KD or no KD, the Warriors seem to be locked in.
I believe Klay Thompson is preparing to have the best Finals performance in his career. On the other hand, the Raptors have Kawhi Leonard who has simply put on one of the best playoff performances in history. Not many are expecting the Raptors to win this NBA Finals, but I am timid to count out a team who has the best player in the playoffs and also an entire country behind them.
The Raptors 2018-2019 season has been nothing but dominant. From being the first seed throughout the whole season, acquiring big man Marc Gasol, to then beating the first seed Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, it is finally the Raptors time. Continually proving the doubters wrong, the Raptors organization has flipped the script on what basketball watchers are used to seeing from this team.
Mainly in part to LeBron James not being in the East, the Raptors have made all the necessary moves to compete for a championship. Their bench has been performing well, and I believe this team matches up the best with the Warriors on paper.
The Warriors 18-19’ season was foreshadowing their future-winning. By adding DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors were always projected to reach the NBA Finals once again, if not come out as champions. Even without Cousins, who will be active for game one, and Durant at full health, it is still expected the Warriors will win another championship. They are the clear favorites, but I can see a lot of people rooting for the Raptors as many want to see a new organization to be crowned the King of the NBA.
I believe that at the end of the series it will be the Golden State Warriors lifting the trophy, but again do not count the Raptors out. In a series that I believe will go six games, the Raptors have a good chance of stealing couple of victories and keeping the series exciting. It is important to note the first game will be played in Toronto, which could be a series changer if the Raptors can grab a game one victory.
The Warriors, who are a career 18-1 in game one's under Steve Kerr, could get out the gate slow as the team has had nine days off between series. The uncertainty of Cousin's and Durant's health may add a hint of doubt in their title hopes as well. If the Raptors win game one and carry the momentum into winning two right off the bat, Toronto could see themselves winning the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Realistically, I expect the Warriors to expose the Raptors inability to score consistently without Kawhi.
The Warriors, like always, have ignited the torch of haters all around the world. 47 out of 50 states will be rooting against the Dubs as they look to win their final NBA title before leaving Oracle Arena for the last time. This could cause the Warriors to be motivated to prove why they are the defending champions.
Warriors take the series 4-2 with Klay Thompson earning NBA Finals MVP.
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*preview photo credited to Sports Illustrated
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