Last Updated: 2019-06-09
The Toronto Raptors defeated the Warriors 105-92 in Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals to take a 3-1 lead in the series. The Raptors are now one win away from clinching their first-ever championship and will have an excellent opportunity in Game 5 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada, on Monday night. The Warriors dynasty is on the brink of downfall and it seems Kevin Durant is the only man who can help the reigning champions to stay alive. The wounded Warriors couldn’t cope with the Raptors in the previous two contests at home, so they hope KD will suit up Monday night.
Kevin Durant is recovering from his calf injury for a month now, and he’s been cleared to practice on Sunday. Just two days ago, it looked like KD is done for the season, but there is still a slim chance to see him on the floor in Game 5. All other players on both sides are ready to go.
They say never underestimate a heart of the champion, so the bookies listed the Raptors as slight 2.5-point favorites with the total at 213.5 points and the Warriors at +120 money line odds. We can say it is a fair price on the Raptors who were a better team than the Warriors in this series.
What’s at Stake?
This is the biggest game in the Raptors’ history, and Nick Nurse’s boys could feel the pressure. Well, everyone except Kawhi Leonard who’s already an NBA champion and looks ready to add another ring. On the other side, the Warriors are playing with their backs against the wall and the eventual loss could mean the end of their dynasty.
The Raptors are coming off two straight wins over the Warriors, becoming the first team in Steve Kerr’s era to beat Golden State three times in a row at Oracle Arena (including the victory from the regular season). Toronto is 7-1 straight up and ATS in its last eight outings, playing in a terrific form. The Warriors suffered two straight home losses for the first time since December 2018 and are in a win or go home situation for the first time since 2016 conference finals against the Thunder when they came back from a 3-1 deficit.
The Warriors had a 4-point lead at halftime in Game 4, but the Raptors pulled off in the third quarter, dropping 37 points on the reigning champions and surrendering just 21 in a return. The Raptors shot just 41.9% from the field and 31.3% from downtown, but they made 23 of their 24 free-throw attempts. On the other side, the Warriors missed seven of their 21 free throws while shooting 44.9% from the field and 29.6% from beyond the arc. Also, the Warriors turned the ball over 19 times and allowed the Raptors to record whopping 12 steals.
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 36 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 from beyond the 3-point line. The Claw posted 12 rebounds and four steals, recording a net rating of +13. Pascal Siakam had 19 points and six rebounds; Kyle Lowry added ten points and seven assists, while Serge Ibaka was a huge factor off the bench with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field.
Klay Thompson returned to the lineup to lead the Warriors with 28 points, hitting six triples out of ten attempts, while Stephen Curry tallied 27 points on 9-of-22 shooting. Draymond Green was one rebound shy from a triple-double, posting ten points and 12 dimes, but DeMarcus Cousins had another dud with six points in just 15 points on the floor. Boogie is a huge defensive vulnerability in this series, and the Raptors know how to take advantage of him.
The Warriors desperately need Kevin Durant, as they lack offensive firepower against the Raptors’ tough defense. On the other side, the Eastern Conference champs execute well at the offensive end, forcing the Warriors to double team Kawhi and constantly looking for open shots. If the Warriors want to stay alive in this series, they will need to improve defensively, but they also need more from their role players who were a non-factor in the previous two games.
If Kevin Durant stays sidelined for Game 5, don’t overthink it and take the Raptors to cover. Toronto smells blood and is led by Kawhi Leonard who’s playing at the highest level on both ends of the floor. Still, even if KD suits up, I think he won’t be able to contribute the way he did before a calf injury. Therefore, I’m backing the Raptors to finish the job in five games.
I would stick with the side bet because betting on the totals looks like a tricky job. The Warriors have to bring their best D on this one, but they’ve really struggled so far. On the other hand, the reigning champions will need to shoot the ball extremely well, especially Stephen Curry, and they could make this game interesting to watch thanks to their 3-pointers. I will go with the over, expecting the Warriors to push the ball in transition and speed up the tempo as much as they can. Also, the over has hit in eight of the last 12 head-to-head duels between Golden State and Toronto.
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