Our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors pick has the series odds on the Warriors at -330. The Toronto Raptors series pick odds are at +250. Does that mean this is a done deal? Are the Warriors a lock? No, not at this point. There are a few factors to consider before anyone starts proclaiming the favorite in the 2019 NBA Finals the winner.
Those factors include items related to recent history, injuries, scheduling, and the rise of Kawhi Leonard versus the persistence of Stephen Curry. It is true that the Golden State Warriors have the opportunity to win their third NBA title in a row, something that was last done by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. But that, and this is despite the moneyline odds, does not make this a sure thing.
Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors Pick – Recent History
The Warriors and Raptors met twice this season. Both times Toronto won. The first meeting was at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on November 29, 2018. In that game, the Raptors won in OT 131-128. Kevin Durant scored 51 points. For the other side, Leonard put in 37. Special note, Curry did not play for the Warriors that night.
The second meeting was a few weeks later on December 12 in Oakland. In that game, the Raptors enjoyed a runaway victory, taking down the current NBA champs 113-93. Leonard did not play. The top scorer for Toronto was Kevin Lowry with 23. The scoring overall for Raptor starters was fairly evenly dispersed with each of the five players hitting for double-digits. For the losers, Durant, once again, led the way with 30 points. Curry had 10 points and Klay Thompson 14.
Who’s Healthy and Who’s Not?
Our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors pick notes that the Toronto Raptors are overall healthy. They will be missing SF Og Anunoby. Anunoby, who averaged 7.0 PPG in the regular season, has not played since April 9. On the other hand, the Warriors are hurting as both SF Kevin Durant and center DeMarcus Cousins are out. In the postseason over 11 games, Durant has averaged 34.2 PPG. He tops all Golden State players in points per game. Cousins, who was expected to be back for this series after appearing in just the first two playoff games against the LA Clippers in April, is not ready to play yet. In that pair of games, the center averaged 5.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG.
The big question is will Durant appear in the series? Right now, it’s quite certain that the star small forward will miss the first two games. He could possibly be back on the court on June 5 when the finals shift to Oakland.
NBA Finals Series Scheduling
Toronto has home court, and in the NBA, that is a big deal. In close series, home court tends to be a major factor. But in one way, the scheduling does help Golden State. With the finals starting in Toronto, Durant gets to rest for those first two meetings, and then play, if he’s back for game three, without travelling and at home. That’s much better than sitting out two home games, having to make the long trip to Toronto, and then stepping on the court in an away game. With the series starting in Canada, there’s much less wear and tear on Durant.
Helpful also, is the fact that there are two days between games one and two and two more between two and three. That’s a full week of rest for Durant and Cousins. Note, there’s only one day of rest between games three and four. After that, there are two days off between the final three games, however, the teams are travelling between each of those dates. Thus, the days off are less beneficial.
Kawhi Leonard vs Stephen Curry
If Durant were healthy, we’d be considering Leonard’s play in relationship to his fellow small forward. But, instead, we’re looking at Leonard, who many consider to be at this time the best player in the NBA, and PG Curry, who, for many years, has been considered the top player in the league.
In terms of points, Leonard has the advantage at +3.9 and also in rebounding at +2.5. Curry is +1.8 in assists. Curry is a major playmaker for sure. But he’s also lost some of his edge and without Durant on the court, the Raptors will be able to focus more on shutting him down.
At this point in his career, Leonard is a huge go-to player and a major driving force for the Raptors. He’s hitting 38.8% of his threes, 50.7% of his field goals, and 55.5% of his two-point shots. He can drive the lane, hit from the outside, and bang under the hoop.
Our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors Pick – the Series
It’s true that the Warriors are the team to beat. They are, after all, the reigning NBA Champions. But there are a lot of factors working against them. Along with some stats and health issues, Golden State is going up against a team where its leader hit the final shot against Philadelphia to send the Raptors to the conference finals. And, in those NBA Eastern Conference Finals, which were against the top team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Raptors staged a major comeback, wining four-straight games after losing the first two of the series. With a variety of factors pushing us towards our prediction, our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors pick is Toronto in seven games. That’s how we see the 2019 NBA Finals playing out.
Summary 2019 NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors Pick
Toronto Raptors in seven at +250