It’s finally upon us! The NBA Finals tip-off on May 30th in Toronto.
We get to see the culmination of the season and what could be the culmination of a dynasty in a three-peat for the Dubs, and a franchise first for the Raps.
So far, the NBA Odds shown at the best online sportsbooks the Golden State Warriors as fairly heavy favorites to win the series. That said, the Raptors are 1-point favorites in Game 1. So what should we expect?
Do the Raptors Have a Chance?
The Warriors have been playing down-right scary, devastating basketball. The evidence was in shown in the sweep of a tough Trail Blazer team who plays some of the best transition defense in the league. This was a series that many thought would go six games, but the Dubs were an unstoppable machine, even without Kevin Durant.
That said, I sometimes feel the Dubs play better without Durant, but I digress. The question is, do the Toronto Raptors stand a chance against this star-studded powerhouse that is the Golden State Warriors? The answer is a resounding yes.
The Raptors won both of their regular season meetings against the Warriors. The most recent was a 113 to 93 whooping in Oakland, and back in November, a much closer 131-128 victory in Toronto. So, we know that the Raptors can beat this current Dubs lineup both at home and on the road.
What About Points?
The Warriors have the most prolific overall offense in the NBA at 117.61 PPG. They are No. 1 in field goal percentage, No. 3 in three-pointers, No 4 in free throws, and No. 12 in offensive rebounds.
The Raptors are 12th in the league in total offense at 112.73 PPG, No. 9 at field goal percentage, No. 7 shooting the three ball, No. 2 in free throw percentage, and No. 22 in rebounding.
So we see immediately that the Warriors have a hefty scoring advantage. And when you look at the fact that the Raptors are in the bottom two-thirds of the league when it comes to offensive boards, it didn’t seem to hurt them against the best rebounding team in the league, the Bucks. But let’s move on to defense.
The Warriors allow 111.10 PPG, which is 16th in the league. A true middling defense. That said, they are No. 4 in the league for limiting field goal percentage at 44.36. The Dubs are No. 13 in three points allowed, No. 23 in free throw percentage allowed, and No. 5 in defensive rebounding.
The Raptors allow 106.77 PPG and are No. 3 in opposing field goal percentage at 44.35. The defend the perimeter well, allowing just 33.85 percent of threes to fall, good enough for No. 4 in the NBA. They are No. 13 in free throw percentage and No. 15 rebounding on the defensive end of the court.
So, now we see that the Toronto Raptors have just under a 5-point defensive advantage. Now the Warriors just under 5-point offensive advantage is a wash (considering the law of averages). So this series comes down to who loses a game at home … The Rockets start out with homecourt advantage but can the Warriors steal it?
I think they will in Game 1. Golden State rarely loses Game one of any playoff series. They are 18-1 during Game 1s, and I expect them to play Steph Currey, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green for extended minutes to make sure that they take the first game as underdogs in Toronto.
If that happens, Toronto wins Game 2, but the series most likely goes to the Warriors.