In a dramatic turn of events, the Toronto Raptors have done the unthinkable by pushing the Golden State Warriors to a 1-3 deficit. It was just three short years ago that this very Golden State team blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Can they start to reverse history with a win to keep their threepeat hopes alive? Will we see Kevin Durant make an appearance in this year’s NBA Finals, or have we seen the last of Kevin Durant in a Warriors uniform? We’ll have some answers tonight in a potential closeout Game 5!

[1] Golden State Warriors (1-3) @ [2] Toronto Raptors (3-1)

The Raptors carried their dominance from Game 3 over into Game 3. It didn’t even matter that Klay Thompson returned to the lineup, Toronto solidly outplayed the Dubs across the board. While the game was close at halftime with Golden State clinging to a 46-42 lead, all was erased by a 37-21 third quarter performance by the Raptors. So much for the third quarter Warriors huh? Kawhi Leonard continues to show why he is the best two-way player in all of basketball, and single-handedly capable of dismantling a legendary team. If KD returns tonight, we may have a very different series on our hands though.

Golden State

With the return of Klay Thompson, it seemed almost a foregone conclusion that the Warriors would be able to even up the series. Although he did play well, Golden State didn’t have much scoring help outside of the Splash Brothers. It is crazy to think that the Warriors need Kevin Durant to beat anyone, but Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors are proving to be a legitimate threat. The Warriors are certainly capable of winning without KD, but his return would mean a lot for the Dubs here tonight.

  • One thing the Warriors actually did well in Game 4 was play defense. They held Toronto to 42% shooting from the field while collecting 6 steals and 6 blocks.
  • Curry and Thompson combined for 55 of Golden State’s 92 points (60%) last game.
  • DeMarcus Cousins was a non-factor with just 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 turnovers on 3-6 shooting.
  • The Warriors are now 7-3 on the road during the playoffs.
  • Kevin Durant will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game, with much riding on whether or not he plays.

Toronto

After losing their first game of the playoffs and barely escaping past Philly in the second round, the Raptors are now just a game away from their first NBA title. If the Raptors do hold on to knock off the Warriors, the Kawhi Leonard trade will probably go down as one of the best and immediately-impactful trades in all of history. Even if they don’t, he’s cemented himself as an all-time great Raptor. Defense has been key for the Raptors so far, they’ll need to keep it up to win their first title tonight in Game 5.

  • The Raptors definitely won Game 4 on the defensive end. They held Golden State to 45% shooting from the field and just 92 points. As a team they had 12 steals and 4 blocks to force 17 Warriors turnovers.
  • Serge Ibaka outscored the Warriors bench by himself, 20-18.
  • Kawhi Leonard is creating a solid resume for a second Finals MVP as he finished with 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 steals last game.
  • The Raptors are now 9-3 at home during the playoffs.
  • Toronto has covered the point spread in 3 of the 4 games during the Finals.

Pick: Golden State Warriors +1.5

The Raptors may still win this series and certainly should be favored to do so, but the defending champs should be able to survive at least one more game. Much of Golden State’s chances will hinge on whether or not Kevin Durant plays. Considering the implications to his legacy and upcoming free agency, your best bet is on KD returning to the lineup in Game 5. While he might not be 100%, his presence alone will be enough to divert pressure from the rest of the team. If KD doesn’t play, the Raptors are likely to win their first title. Assuming KD plays, your best bet is on Golden State winning tonight to stave off elimination.

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