The 2019 NBA Finals
The 2019 NBA Finals
Note: At the time of writing, the series was Toronto 3, Golden State 2
The NBA season is finally closing out, and this years’ finals are hosting one familiar face and one newcomer: the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Will Golden State return for a Threepeat not seen since the days of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, or will Toronto win its first title of all-time?
Golden State comes for yet another appearance in the finals, winning 3 of the last 4 titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Backed by an all-star roster including Guard Stephen Curry, Center DeMarcus Cousins and Forward Kevin Durant, it’s not hard to see why Golden State has been a dynasty these past few years. However, Durant and Cousins have not been around, both out for the past few weeks with injuries. While this current Warriors roster certainly has the experience to perform under pressure in the finals, it is yet to be seen whether this will be enough to overcome these injuries.
Enter the Toronto Raptors. Though they were founded in 1995, this year marked their first conference championship and appearance in the Finals. Given their status as the ‘outsider’ Canadian team, and being a newcomer to the Finals, the Raptors are the feel-good story of this year’s NBA season. While as of the time of writing the Raptors are just one game away from their first NBA title, the Warriors are not going down easily. Here’s a quick recap of the games so far:
Game 1: Raptors 118, Warriors 109
Raptors star Kawhi Leonard represents the biggest threat to the Raptors, and the Warriors aimed to shut this threat down early and often in Game 1. This turned out to be a game of even better planning on the Raptors part, utilizing more of the field in order to maneuver around the shutting down of Leonard, paying off in a Game 1 victory.
Game 2: Warriors 109, Raptors 104
The Warriors returned with a vengeance in Game 2, shutting down the Raptors in the second half in front of a home court. This included an 18-0 run at the beginning of the third quarter, leaving Raptors fans dejected and changing the tone of the series.
Game 3: Raptors 123, Warriors 109
Toronto returned with a vengeance back in Oakland, exploiting the weakness of Golden State being down two players. Championship experience isn’t everything.
Game 4: Raptors 105, Warriors 92
The Raptors continued their dominance on offence, an especially surprising theme given the Warriors’ defense (and the ability to capitalize on that defense) bringing home the championships over the years. Outscored by 16 points in the third quarter, the Warriors were hanging on by a thread in this one.
Game 5: Warriors 106, Raptors 105
The Warriors got lucky, with a missed three-pointer by Toronto as time expired. Kevin Durant made an appearance in this game, only to be out after 11 minutes of play with what was later confirmed as a broken Achilles tendon. The Warriors came out on top here, but not without a huge loss in Durant.
Game 6 will return to Golden State, in what could be the final game of the series. Whether the Raptors will finally put the nail in the coffin or Golden State will force a dramatic Toronto Game 7 remains to be seen.