The Warriors swept the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals after a 119-117 overtime win last Monday, becoming the second team in league history to reach the NBA Finals in five consecutive seasons while the Raptors made it after winning 100-94 against the Bucks in Game 6 of an epic Eastern Conference Finals.
The way the Warriors won the Western Conference Finals was remarkable because they trailed the Trail Blazers for 101 minutes, more than they led (83).
Stephen Curry played like an MVP against the Trail Blazers, averaging 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 47.1 percent shooting and 42.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Curry led the way in Game 4 with a triple-double of 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while making 7 of 16 3-point attempts. He became just the fifth player in NBA history to score 30 points in every game of a four-game sweep.
Draymond Green had a great all-around performance in Game 4 with another triple-double (18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists) and Klay Thompson added 17 points despite shooting just 7-for-21 from the field.
Golden State can win their fourth NBA Championship in five years. They won the title in the 2014-15, 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons and in 2015-16 they set a league-record with 73 wins in the regular season before losing to the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Last Thursday the Warriors announced that Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins continue to make good progress with their rehabilitation but are not expected to be ready for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on May 30.
Durant has been out with a strained calf since Game 5 of the second round series against the Rockets and the Warriors have won six consecutive games since he went down, including a four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers. KD’s calf strain was feared to be an Achilles injury but no major news outlets confirmed that theory.
DeMarcus Cousins tore his left quad in Game 2 of the first round series against the Clippers on April 15 and he was expected to miss the remainder of the playoffs. Durant and Cousins will be evaluated next Wednesday and there’s a decent chance they could come back for the NBA Finals, especially KD.
Kawhi Leonard had a monster game with 27 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists, Pascal Siakam had 19 points, Kyle Lowry scored 17 points with eight assists and five rebounds and Fred VanVleet had 14 points on 5-for-6 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3-point range in 33 minutes off the bench.
The Bucks were 22-for-31 from the free-throw line (71.0 percent) and the Raptors held them to just 12-for-32 from beyond the arc (37.5 percent).
The Raptors had a better regular season record than the Warriors, which means that they have home court advantage, an unstoppable superstar and a deeper bench. The Warriors will face a difficult test against Kawhi Leonard but it will be tough to pick against them after seeing how they’ve come together without Durant and Cousins.
Toronto will need to battle off quite a bit of fatigue to get the job done against Golden State. The Warriors are taking a very long break since the end of the Western Conference Finals and even if Durant and Cousins are not ready for Game 1, the Warriors can take advantage of the tired legs of their opponents and steal a game or two on the road.
The Raptors played a seven-game series against the 76ers, followed by six games with the Bucks and it will be difficult to bounce back from that and then face Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of a tough, talented Warriors team just days later.
2019 NBA Finals Schedule
(Courtesy of Sports Media Watch. These are subject to change)
Game 1: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Thursday, May 30 at 9:00 PM ET
Game 2: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Sunday, June 2 at 8:00 PM ET
Game 3: Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, June 5 at 9:00 PM ET
Game 4: Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors, Friday, June 7 at 9:00 PM ET
Game 5: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Monday, June 10 at 9:00 PM ET (If necessary)
Game 6: Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors, Thursday, June 13 at 9:00 PM ET (If necessary)
Game 7: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors, Sunday, June 16 at 8:00 PM ET (If necessary)
Series Price for the NBA Finals
(Courtesy of BetOnline)