Oh Canada! The NBA Finals will take place on foreign soil for the first time in the league’s history when the Raptors wrangle with the Warriors on Thursday, May 30th. Tip off time for this must-see game is 9:00 p.m. EST at Scotiabank Arena.
A Sweeping Success
The Raptors head into the Finals feeling especially confident after defeating the Warriors in both of their regular season games. Toronto outlasted Golden State 131-128 in overtime on November 29th thanks to a season-high 37 points from Kawhi Leonard and a career-high 26 points from Pascal Siakam.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 30, 2018
The Raptors struck again on December 12th, thrashing Golden State 113-93 despite playing without Leonard, who was a healthy scratch. Kyle Lowry led the way in that one, finishing with 23 points, 12 assists, five rebounds, and three steals in 38 minutes. Serge Ibaka also came up big with 20 and 12 as he nearly outdueled former teammate Kevin Durant.
Kyle Lowry : 23 points on 9-18 shooting, 5 rebounds, 12 assists (8 in the 1st half) & 3 steals in 38 minutes pic.twitter.com/q0y9D1OEg6
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life25) December 13, 2018
Durant Ruled Out for Game 1
The Warriors will have to take the court without Kevin Durant, who has been sidelined with a strained right calf since Game 5 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Rockets. The 10-time All-Star was averaging 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists during the postseason, but the Warriors haven’t missed a beat without him. Steve Kerr’s squad is now 5-0 in the 2019 NBA Playoffs without KD and 31-1 overall when Durant sits and Steph Curry plays.
Kevin Durant is officially out for Game 1 of the Finals. pic.twitter.com/I9gBBmIyz5
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) May 27, 2019
Few would argue that the Warriors are a better team without Durant, but his absence brings out the best in Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, all of whom seem to be more engaged and more energized without their all-world teammate available to bail them out. The recipe worked against the undermanned and overwhelmed Trail Blazers, but it will be fascinating to see if it’s just as effective against the Raptors.
Boogie Could Be Back
It seemed like a forgone conclusion that DeMarcus Cousins would miss the remainder of the playoffs after tearing his quad in the first round against the Clippers. However, the four-time All-Star is far ahead of schedule in his rehab and has now been upgraded to questionable for Game 1. Boogie averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for Golden State this season and, if healthy, is a considerable upgrade over Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney, who have received the bulk of his minutes. Expect him to be brought along slowly as he works his way back into shape.
DeMarcus Cousins scrimmaging with the young guys: pic.twitter.com/pJUWPS94iN
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) May 27, 2019
OG Not OK
The Raptors will have to soldier on without OG Anunoby, who has been on the shelf since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on April 12th. The sophomore forward has resumed on court activities, but is likely still another 10 days away from being ready to suit up. Nick Nurse and the rest of the Raptors eagerly await his return.
OG Anunoby is out here getting some (very) light work in. First time I’ve seen him on the court pre-game since the appendectomy. pic.twitter.com/KZVpLylxfz
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 25, 2019
Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors Regular Season Statistical Comparison
|114.9 (1st)||Offensive Rating||112.5 (5th)|
|117.7 (2nd)||Points||114.4 (8th)|
|29.4 (1st)||Assists||25.4 (13th)|
|49.1 (1st)||Field-Goal Percentage||47.4 (5th)|
|38.5 (3rd)||Three-Point Percentage||36.6 (6th)|
|+6.5 (2nd)||Plus/Minus||+6.1 (3rd)|
|108.5 (11th)||Defensive Rating||106.8 (5th)|
|111.2 (16th)||Points||108.4 (9th)|
|44.4 (3rd)||Field-Goal Percentage||44.9 (5th)|
|34.7 (11th)||Three-Point Percentage||34.5 (8th)|
|47.1 (7th)||Points In The Paint||47.5 (9th)|
Raptors Favored to Win Game 1
Oddsmakers have us very excited for Game 1, as they’ve set the point total at a robust 215, with the Raptors opening as narrow 1.0-point favorites. Golden State is 42-54-2 against the spread this season and 48-50-0 over/under, compared to 48-52-0 ATS and 53-47-0 over/under for Toronto.