Home I Latest News I NBA Finals Preview: Warriors vs Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are gearing up for their debut NBA Finals appearance against the Golden State Warriors, the reigning NBA Champions going for 3 in a row. We preview Game 1, which tips off tonight at 8pm from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
The Toronto Raptors are making their first appearance in the NBA Finals in franchise history. Though it’s the organization’s first time here, Raptor leaders Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green aren’t at their first rodeo. Both initially made the Playoffs back in 2013 and won the NBA Championship in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Raptors are riding the wave of adrenaline after beating the Orlando Magic in 5 in Round 1 of the Playoffs, followed by a serious battle with the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2. They took it to Game 7 and to the final seconds, where Leonard drained a 15-footer at the buzzer to win 92-90. This was the first Game 7 buzzer beater in NBA playoff history. Next on the list was the Milwaukee Bucks, who jumped out to a quick 2 game lead before the Raptors rattled off 4 straight wins to earn their spot in the Finals.
While the Raptors have racked up a total of 38 Playoff games, the Warriors crush that with 140 games played in the postseason, including 6 Championships. They’re going for their 3rd straight and 4 in the last 5 years. They make it look easy, but they are still without Durant and Cousins, and their returns have yet to be announced.
Golden State dispatched the Clippers 4-2, the Houston Rockets 4-2, and swept the Trail Blazers to seal their Finals bid. They’ve had a lot of time to rest, but they aren’t the type of team to allow themselves to get lazy.
The Raptors have home court advantage, due to a marginally better regular season record. Playing in front of the home crowd for Game 1 could give them the edge they need to get a jump on the defending champs. The Warriors aren’t used to a Game 1 on the road, they’ve only seen it twice since 2015, but they’ve won 12 straight openers. However, even with the Warriors coming off a 6 game winning streak, the Raptors are sitting as the 1 point favorite for this first game with the total set at 215.
For the series, the Warriors are the favorites at -280 (BetOnline), leaving the Raptors at +230.
The MVP is always a hotly contested award and Steph Curry is leading the pack as the favorite at -140. Curry is putting up 27.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game.
Kawhi Leonard is the next closest at +275. He has been on fire this post season, averaging nearly 32 points per game.
Games 1 and 2 will be played from Toronto before the series moves to Oakland at Oracle Arena for Games 3 and 4. If needed, Games 5, 6, and 7 will alternate cities. If this series goes the distance, the Raptors will have home court for Game 7.
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