It could be that fans of the Golden State Warriors are wishing and hoping that their team is able to get Kevin Durant back in the lineup for Game 5.
He certainly won’t be available for Game 4. But help is on the way.
Klay Thompson looks as if he is going to be able to play, as the Warriors hope not to get swept by the Toronto Raptors in this two-game set at home. The contest tips off at 9:05 PM ET at the Oracle Arena, and BetAnySports customers will have a chance to put forth their wagers even after the game begins, using Live Betting Ultra.
Did you ever think you’d be worrying about whether the Warriors had enough shooters? Well, that’s exactly the case as they faced Game 3 without Thompson, the only other member of the team capable of doing any real damage form long-range on a consistent basis.
It was anticipated that the Raptors were going to go to their “box and one” or some other approach to hinder Steph Curry and make someone else beat them.
But instead it was all about Curry. He had to hoist the team on his shoulders and he did just that. He had 47 points, with half of the team’s three-pointers. His Usage figure was an incredible 37.7%. He had more field goals than all the other starters combined. Golden State’s starting lineup took 65 attempts from the field, and Curry took 31 of those. That he was able to produce the way he did was remarkable, considering he knew he was going to get the lion’s share of the attention.
But the way things went, it was antithetical to how the Warriors have won championships. That was evidenced by the assist figure of 25, as compared to 63 in the first two games. And of course, it was further evidenced by the 14-point margin of defeat (123-109).
Now sitting at a 2-1 deficit in games, the Warriors are the Game 5 favorites in the NBA Finals betting odds:
Golden State Warriors -4.5 (-102)
Toronto Raptors +4.5 (-108)
Over 215 points (-105)
Under 215 points (-105)
As you look at those numbers, you’ll see that they are not the usual -110. That’s because at BetAnySports you get “reduced juice,” offering a better value deal than you’ll get at any other online sportsbook.
Who knows if Durant is going to come back in this series at all. But the Warriors are going to be a different team with Thompson in Game 4. If you recall (and you don’t need a great memory to do so), the Raptors could only employ their special defensive tactics on Curry after Klay went out in Game 2. If he’s back, they can’t pay the same degree of special attention to him.
Without Thompson, the Raptors paid more attention to DeMarcus Cousins, another very capable scorer in the lineup, and that’s because they could afford to. The result was that in a little less than 20 minutes of action, Cousins shot 1-for-7 from the field with no offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, who have won honors throughout their career with their defense, had 23 points and a dozen rebounds between them. Ibaka alone had six blocks.
You’ll see more ball movement on the part of the Warriors, and we know this is the thing they thrive on. And naturally, G-State won’t have to reach down into its bench enough if Klay starts. So you see, there is a true ripple effect on offense.
But for them to win, that effect has to felt on defense as well. They simply can’t afford to allow Toronto to do what it was able to do in Game 3 – allow 52% shooting, 17 triples and 44.7% from the arc, not to mention letting the Raptors do what the Dubs do so well, which is distribute,as they had 30 assists. This combination of numbers has been surrendered by G-State just twice in the playoffs since Steve Kerr became head coach. Toronto got exquisite balance; all five starters scored at least 17 points, with one of them being “3 and D” specialist Danny Green, second in the league in triples accuracy this year and 6-of-10 from downtown on Wednesday.
With Klay Thompson in the lineup, having gotten extra time to rest his hamstring, he ought to be just fine. And so he’ll be able to apply himself on the stop end, where he is an All-Defensive team performer. This is the difference-maker in many ways.
This line almost went through the floor in Game 3, as it dipped from 5.5 all the way down to 2.5 in some places, because of the “Klay factor.” e like their chances here.
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