2019 NBA Finals: Preview & Prediction
The 2019 NBA Finals is now set! This year’s edition will feature the Western Conference Champions, Golden State Warriors and the Eastern Conference Champions, Toronto Raptors. Here is the full schedule (* = if necessary):
Game 1: 5/30 in Toronto
Game 2: 6/2 in Toronto
Game 3: 6/5 in Oakland
Game 4: 6/7 in Oakland
Game 5*: 6/10 in Toronto
Game 6*: 6/13 in Oakland
Game 7*: 6/16 in Toronto
This year’s finals is set to be an amazing series. The Warriors are making their fifth consecutive appearance and look to capture the three-peat. The Raptors are making their first ever appearance and look to shock the world. Who will come out on top? Let’s analyze this matchup.
NBA FINALS PREVIEW
Great Offense vs. Great Defense
The Warriors enter the finals with the best offense. During their playoff run, they average 117.3 points per game, which ranks first among all playoff teams. The Warriors are also the leaders in field goal percentage (48.7 %), three-point percentage (37 %), and are second in made threes per game (12.0). The Warriors were dominant in the Western Conference Finals, scoring at least 110 points in every game. Steph Curry reclaimed the spotlight in Kevin Durant’s absence. He averaged 36.5 points per game and shot near 43 percent from three in the WCF.
The Raptors enter the finals with a great defense. In the postseason, the Raptors only allow 99.6 points per game, which is second among all playoff teams. They defend the three very well. Opponents shot 31.3 percent against them. Overall, opponents shot 41.7 percent. In the last two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Raptors held the Milwaukee Bucks under 100 points. Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard led the way defensively. He gave MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo nightmares, causing Giannis to become less efficient and uncomfortable throughout the series.
Keys for the Warriors
The Warriors need Kevin Durant back. Durant has not played since the second round. Reports have confirmed that he will miss game one of the finals. Durant adds a much-needed scoring mention. The Raptors are tough defensively. Durant’s presence will cause match-up problems for the Raptors. Also, Draymond Green will play a pivotal role. He was sensational in the WCF, returning to form. Green’s versatility gives the Warriors more flexibility on offense. He frees up a lot of space for Curry and Klay Thompson to knock down threes. Green must continue his hot streak in Durant’s absence.
Keys for the Raptors
The supporting cast must step up in the finals. Outside of Leonard, the rest of the Raptors been inconsistent on offense. Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry have been up-and-down. Their contributions on offense is vital, especially Siakam, who can impose his will on the less-talented Warriors big men. Also, role players such as Fred Vanvleet and Danny Green have to knock down shots when given the opportunity. Vanvleet seemed to found his touch within the last three games of the ECF. Rebounding will be key as well. The Raptors are not great at rebounding. They rank 12th out of the 16 playoff teams.
This finals match-up is more even than the odds-makers believe. Both teams have a superstar player who are clicking at the right time. The Warriors are great on offense and the Raptors are great on defense. The Raptors are more battle-tested than the Warriors. The Warriors had plenty of rest leading up to this series. With Kevin Durant’s return still up in the air, the Raptors have what it takes to exploit the Warriors. They have home-court advantage as well. However, their team outside of Leonard have been questionable. While it would be a great story for the Raptors to win their first championship, the Warriors have the upper-hand. Their guard play is better and Draymond is too skilled for the Raptors to counter. But, they must proceed with caution. If this series goes to game seven, the Raptors have the advantage. The Warriors must take care of business beforehand.
Warriors in Six