Thursday, November 29 at 8:00 PM ET
Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors visit the Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors in a potential NBA Finals preview.
The Warriors are recovering from a four-game losing streak by winning their last three games. Those three victories all came at home and the last two went down to the wire, 117-116 against the Kings and 116-110 against the Magic. Star point guard Stephen Curry has been out since sustaining a groin strain on November 8 and Draymond Green has missed nine of the last 11 games with a toe injury and he's not expected to play tonight.
Golden State is temporarily relying on All-Stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson but Draymond Green is an emotional leader on the court and his impact on defense has definitely been felt, here's their defensive rating this season:
In Draymond Green's 396 minutes on the court: 101.7
In Draymond Green's 665 minutes off of it: 111.3
The Raptors have piled up many regular season wins and stockpiled solid talent in recent years but they never made their mark in the playoffs, getting routinely disrespected and seen as mere cannon fodder for LeBron James during his years ruling the East. All that appears to have changed, not just because James is with Lakers but mostly because they added talented two-way superstar Kawhi Leonard.
Toronto was the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last year but they swapped superstars with the Spurs, sending DeMar DeRozan for Leonard and also getting efficient shooting guard Danny Green after another disappointing playoff performance.
The results have spelled trouble for the rest of the league: the Raptors have the best record in the NBA at 18-4, they're in the middle of a six-game winning streak, they rank second in points per game differential at +8.9, third with 117.0 points per game and sixth allowing 108.1 points per game and Kawhi Leonard is averaging team-bests with 24.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks.
The Golden State Warriors are:
3-7 ATS in their last 10 games playing on two days rest
4-14 ATS in their last 18 games against Atlantic Division opponents
1-5 ATS in their last six games against a team with a winning straight up record
1-6 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss
1-7 ATS in their last eight games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
1-8 ATS in their last nine games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
1-8 ATS in their last nine games overall
0-6 ATS in their last six games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
1-3-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Toronto
1-4-1 ATS in the last six meetings
The Toronto Raptors are:
5-1 ATS in their last six games against a team with a winning straight up record
4-1 ATS in their last five games against Western Conference opponents
8-2 ATS in their last 10 games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
5-2 ATS in their last seven games against Pacific Division opponents
7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win
This will be a great early season test for both teams, the Raptors are a hungry team looking to make a statement at the expense of a shorthanded Warriors squad. Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and the fully-healthy Raptors will be too much for Durant and Thompson to overcome but getting nine points is tempting. I like the Raptors to win but the Warriors will cover.
NBA Pick: Warriors +9 (-110) at Jazz Sports