Jason Radowitz explains why the Golden State Warriors should be backed to extend the NBA Finals Series by beating Toronto Raptors on Thursday
What a series it’s been. It feels like the Raptors should’ve already been crowned champions. They’ve had their opportunity to close the series at home in Toronto on Monday, but failed. Kevin Durant came back for one quarter and managed to score 11 points going 3-3 from the three point line. After putting up 11, Durant more than likely tore his achilles. He’s now done for the year.
However, the Warriors did get some good news prior to Game 6. Kevon Looney, who exited Game 5 in the 4th quarter with a collarbone injury, should be good to go for Game 6. He has vowed that he will play through pain. To many, Kevon Looney playing wouldn’t make a difference. But after watching DeMarcus Cousins’ defense in this series, it’s apparent that the Warriors will need to “hide” Cousins on the defensive end. In the playoffs, Looney has had a defensive rating of 104.5, a greater number than DeMarcus Cousins’ 103.3. To put defense into perspective, Klay Thompson, arguably the greatest perimeter defender in the Finals, has a rating of 111.5. Cousins has been a disaster defensively to put it slightly. If Looney is a full go, I expect Cousins’ minutes to drop. Looney would get more minutes. Late in Game 5, Kawhi Leonard went on a tear scoring 10 points straight to give the Raptors a six-point lead late at home.
This was the first game in the Finals where there was a lead change in the fourth quarter. Twitter said the game was over. Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse called a “silly” timeout with three minutes to go and many believed that took Kawhi Leonard out of his rhythm. The Splash Bros prevailed and nailed a couple three’s down the stretch in a must win game on the road, without Looney and of course, Durant.
The Warriors began Game 5 shooting lights out. The Warriors combined to shoot 47 percent from three on the road. Even after shooting almost 50 percent from three, the Raptors had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but when Kawhi Leonard was double teamed, he passed on the opportunity to take the final shot. Lowery took the final shot but it was tipped by Draymond Green. The Warriors won. The Warriors have all the momentum going back home to the Oracle.
Warriors vs. Raptors: Records against the spread:
● Toronto Raptors: 13-10 in playoffs
● Golden State Warriors: 9-11-1 in playoffs
● Raptors are 13-8 (61.9%) as a road underdog this season
● Warriors are 19-30-1 (38.8%) as a home favorite
● Steph Curry is 33-7 (80.4%) when he plays without Kevin Durant
● Only the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers have come back to win the NBA Championship down 3-1.
● Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr is 6-1 when facing elimination in the playoffs.
Warriors vs. Raptors Betting Lines
Toronto Raptors +130 via FanDuel Sportsbook
Golden State Warriors -152 via FanDuel Sportsbook
Warriors vs. Raptors Prediction
The Warriors have only lost three games in a row at home all season. In that mix were two overtime games that could’ve went their way if the ball rolled differently. Behind a Warriors crowd watching the last basketball in the Oracle, do you really think the Warriors will lose? There will likely be a time in this game where the Warriors/Raptors are losing in the first half. I’m someone that loves value where I can find it. Don’t feel obligated to pick either team at the start of the game. Live betting a team when they’re losing is great value especially when you’ve done all the research, crunched all the numbers, and have your pick, despite the first quarter/half score. The Warriors didn’t bring much energy to Toronto. Potentially due to Durant’s absence. Toronto plays so much more connected as a team. But with the Warriors coming back to Golden State in another must win game, I expect less turnovers and more energy from the Warriors. It starts with Draymond Green. Another triple double for Green should be in the cards.
With all that being said, I’m taking the Warriors -152. All the momentum has shifted to Golden State.
Warriors vs. Raptors Pick