The Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors are set to begin the NBA Finals on Thursday evening. For the first time in eight years, Lebron James is not playing in the NBA Finals, and that opens the door for Toronto. The Warriors are looking to make it three straight championships.
There has been a lot of discussion as to who is going to win the championship. People are going back and forth between the Warriors and the Raptors, so this might be a closer series than most think. For the first time, the Warriors will be opening the Finals on the road. Looking at the spread for the first game, we can expect a close game. The Raptors are a -1 point favorite in the first game of the NBA Finals. The over/under for the game is 213.5 points.
Warriors Seek Third Straight
The Warriors have made it back to the championship series for the fifth consecutive year. They are seeking a third consecutive title, so the pressure is weighing heavily on them. In order to win the series, they are going to have to be able to control the pace of the game. The shooters for Golden State will need to be able to make shots, and they must have a bench presence.
Kevin Durant is likely out for the first couple of games, so the Warriors are going to need to rely on others. If Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green continue to play as they have been, then this is going to be a tough team to beat.
Raptors Look to Surprise
The Raptors were not expected to be here. While they were one of the best teams in the conference this season, most experts predicted that either Boston or Philadelphia would come out of the East. For Toronto to make it this far was a great accomplishment. But now they legitimately have a shot to win a championship.
Kawhi Leonard will need to be relied on to make big shots, play good defense, and figure out how to get others involved. Against a team like Golden State, their bench will need to perform well. Throughout the playoffs, we have seen what a middling bench can do to a team. With the first two games in Toronto, they will need to win at least one. They do not want to start off at home and lose both games.
Warriors, Raptors Vie for Finals Trophy
If this first game is going to be any indication, I think we are in for a great series. You have the perennial title contender trying to defend its titles, and then you have a feel-good story in Léonard and a team in Toronto that was not thought to be at this level. This first game is going to tell us a lot about both teams. I think Toronto has the edge because they’re playing at home. But my gut says never to bet against the defending champs. Take the Warriors in a surprising Game 1 victory.