The Golden State Warriors visit the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
Thursday, May 30 at 9:00 PM ET
The Warriors swept the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals after last Monday's 119-117 overtime win to become the second team in league history to reach the NBA Finals in five consecutive seasons while the Raptors reached that stage by beating the Bucks 100-94 in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference Finals for the ages.
The Warriors won the Western Conference Finals despite trailing the Trail Blazers for 101 minutes, more than they led (83). Stephen Curry played like an MVP in that series, averaging 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 47.1 percent shooting and 42.5 percent from 3-point range.
The star point guard led the way on Game 4 with a triple-double of 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while making 7 of 16 3-point shots to become just the fifth player in NBA history to score 30 points in every game of a four-game sweep.
Draymond played great all-around on Monday with another triple-double (18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists) and Klay Thompson had 17 points despite shooting just 7-for-21 from the field.
Last Thursday the Warriors announced that Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins continue to progress with their rehabilitation but are not expected to be ready for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Durant has been out with a strained calf since Game 5 of the second round series against the Rockets and the Warriors won six straight games since he went down, including the four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers.
DeMarcus Cousins tore his left quad in Game 2 of the first round series against the Clippers on April 15 and although he was expected to miss the remainder of the playoffs, both players will be evaluated next Wednesday and there's a decent chance they come back late in the NBA Finals, especially KD.
Kawhi Leonard was incredible against the Bucks, scoring 27 points to go along with 17 rebounds and seven assists, Pascal Siakam scored 19 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 points, eight assists and five rebounds and Fred VanVleet added 14 points on 5-for-6 from the field and 4-for-5 from downtown in 33 minutes off the bench.
The Bucks missed nine costly free-throws (22-for-31, 71.0 percent) and the Raptors held them to just 12-for-32 from 3-point range (37.5 percent).
The Raptors had a better regular season record than the Warriors, so they open the NBA Finals at home, an unstoppable superstar and a deeper bench. It will be a difficult test for the Warriors against Kawhi Leonard but it will be tough to pick against them after seeing how they're playing without Durant and Cousins.
The Golden State Warriors are:
7-18 ATS in their last 25 games against Atlantic Division opponents
5-15 ATS in their last 20 Thursday games
2-6 ATS in their last eight games against Eastern Conference opponents
2-5-1 ATS in the last eight meetings
The Toronto Raptors are:
4-0 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning percentage above .600
4-0 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning straight up record
19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 home games against a team with a road winning percentage above .600
7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win
11-5 ATS in their last 16 games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
34-16-2 ATS in their last 52 home games against a team with a winning road record
The Raptors will need to battle off quite a bit of fatigue to beat the Warriors. Golden State is taking a very long break since the end of the Western Conference Finals and even if Durant and Cousins don't play on Thursday, the Warriors can take advantage of the tired legs of the Raptors and steal a game or two on the road.
Toronto played a seven-game series against Philadelphia, followed by six games with Milwaukee and it will be tough to recover from that and then face Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of a talented, experienced Warriors team just days later.
NBA Pick: Raptors +100
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff