After the Raptors win both in Oracle to take a 3-1 lead, Nick Ballistreri previews Game 5 and makes his pick as the Raptors look to close out their first NBA title ever.
Game 5 of the NBA Finals will be played at Scotiabank Arena, on Monday June 10, at 9:00 PM EST. The game be seen on ABC.
Warriors vs Raptors Game 5 preview
It all happened so fast. In the blink of an eye, the Golden State Warriors went from being on the verge of the greatest dynasty of all time, to a dynasty on the brink of becoming extinct. That is what happens when the Raptors come into Oracle, treat it like their own home, and win both games on the road to take a 3-1 lead. This simply does not happen to the Warriors, but on the back of Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors are now on the brink of their first NBA Championship in history.
Where to go from here. The series shifts back to Toronto, where the Raptors have a chance to clinch in front of their home crowd. If you asked anybody before the series which team had a chance to clinch in Game 5, I’d venture a guess that 90% of the people would have guessed GSW. Put simply, nobody expected Toronto to play like this. With the exception of one quarter in this entire series, the Raptors have looked like the far superior team on both ends.
After Steph Curry did his best to try and carry the undermanned Warriors to victory in Game 3, it was clear he was not at his best. Nobody could blame him for being fatigued coming into this one, as he started 0-5 on his three-point attempts. Curry finished with a respectable 27 points, but he clearly wasn’t himself and only shot 9-22 from the field. Without his best effort, the Warriors stood no chance.
As for the Raptors, the story continues to be about Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is quietly putting together one of the best playoff runs in history, and it might be time to start talking about Kawhi Leonard being among the all-time playoff performers. Kawhi has done this before. As a 22 year old, he stopped one dynasty lead by LeBron James. The Heat were on their way to a three-peat, before Kawhi’s Spurs stopped that.
Here he is, years later, on the verge of breaking up another dynasty. In Game 4, he 36 points and 12 rebounds, and was a key part of the 20-6 run to end the 3rd quarter that gave the Raptors some breathing room. Kawhi is ruining everything the Warriors are trying to do defensively. They can’t play him 1 on 1 because he will just bully the defender to the rim, or make one of his patented mid range jumpers. They can’t send extra defenders at him because he has been doing an excellent job at finding the open shooters such as Danny Green this series.
Put simply, there is nothing the Warriors can do, except hope and pray that Kevin Durant is coming back for Game 5. News came out that Durant is not looking good, and he is not coming to save the day. Durant is the only guy on the Warriors who can consistently stick Leonard, and take him out of his comfort zone. He also could exploit mismatches on defense better than almost everybody in the league. Without Durant, the Warriors are the ones being exploited.
So this is it. The Warriors have been on both ends of a 3-1 comeback before, so they know it is not impossible. They are starting the end of their dynasty right in the face, and their backs are officially as far against the wall as can be. This is their last chance. They blew their chance at home, and now they need to find a way to extend the series. They need to give themselves one more chance in Oracle, and who knows? Anything can happen if they get Game 5. The Raptors have to stick to the status quo. Everything they have tried is working to this point, and they just need to stick to the game plan, and ride Kawhi to the promised land.
Warriors vs Raptors key series stats
● The Raptors won the turnover battle 17-9 in Game 4
● Kawhi Leonard now has 14 30+ point games this postseason
● The last time the Warriors were down 3-1, they came back to win vs the Thunder in 2016
● With a win, the Raptors will win their first NBA Title ever
Warriors vs Raptors betting lines
● The Raptors opened as 3 point favorites in Game 5
● The Raptors ML is -115 on pointsbet, the best odds being given
● The Warriors ML is +135 on Draftkings, the best odds being given
Warriors vs Raptors Game 5 Spread Prediction
In the closeout game on their own court, the Toronto Raptors are 3 point favorites. Any good NBA tipster will admit when they have been wrong, and I am doing just that. I
underestimated the Raptors in this series. I expected the Warriors to ride their championship experience, and at least split in Oracle. What the Raptors did was astounding. They beat the Warriors at their own game, and are breaking the dynasty apart one game at a time. This looks like it’s it for the Warriors. Every great dynasty has an inevitable fall, and Game 4 felt like the turning point. They held a halftime lead and the Raptors snatched that right out of their grasp, just like they are doing to this series. Toronto is ready for this. Their fans have been waiting 24 years for this opportunity. The arena and the streets of Toronto are going to be electric, hoping to bottle up some of their energy and give it to the team. Give me Kawhi in Game 5. Toronto has been the better team, and they don’t want to let this one get back to Oracle. Toronto has been waiting for this, and the time is now. Toronto will be world champions Monday night, and it’s time to cue the confetti.