Basketball

NBA FINALS 2019 — Raptors almost there, now leading 3-2

JustBet now offers Golden State Warriors at $2.90 to win title

BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, June 14, 2019

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THE drama during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals was much like a Hollywood movie script.

The two-time defending champions, Golden State Warriors, saw the return of Kevin Durant (albeit short-lived), watched a 14-point lead disappear and were minutes away from their title reign ending.

They had contained Kawhi Leonard for three quarters, but he scored 10 straight points in the fourth and the Toronto Raptors had all of Canada poised to celebrate their first NBA championship last Monday night.

Then the final closing minutes happened; Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for three straight Warriors three-pointers after Toronto had taken a six-point lead with under 3 minutes remaining in front of a raucous home crowd.

The Curry-Klay combination provided the late push that saw the Warriors top the Raptors by the narrowest of margins (106-105) to force a Game 6. Curry scored 31 points and Thompson added 26 as they led a season saving performance by hitting 12 three-pointers which, combined with the other eight from their teammates, were the second-most for a team in a Finals' game (fewer than only the Cleveland Cavaliers who hit 24 in Game 4 of the 2017 Finals).

DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points for the short-handed defending champions and Draymond Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Leonard scored a valiant 26 points for the Raptors, but failed to crown his performance with a victory over the wounded Warriors.

However, the major storyline coming out of Game 5 was the 12-minute return (and subsequent loss) of Warriors' forward Kevin Durant due to a devastating Achilles injury.

Durant scored 11 points in his short stint and appeared to have not lost a step, but his return was cut short very early in the second quarter. The prognosis for Durant is, more than likely, a year away from the game and possibly a move away from Golden State in the off-season. The end of this episode is yet to be written.

The Warriors are, therefore, relying on Curry and Thompson for the bulk of the scoring for the Finals and may not reap success without a minimum combined score of 60-70 points.

The Raptors have, apart from a big third quarter in Game 2 and a late run in Game 5, outplayed the Warriors for the entirety of this Finals and, up to Game 5 of this series, Toronto have not lost at the Oracle this season.

They have won the three games (one regular season game and two in the Finals) by an average of 15.7 points.

The Warriors have failed to score more than 109 points in any game this series and their diminished firepower has neutralised any home court advantage they might have had.

Golden State put themselves back in contention with the Game 5 win but, in the history of the league, they are the only team to lose an NBA Finals after leading 3-1 (Cleveland Cavaliers came back to win in 2016).

Only six teams in NBA history have ever won three road games in a Finals series, the last being the Lakers in 2001.

Both teams have recorded two road wins and are therefore in with an opportunity for this achievement.

The Raptors have now leapfrogged the Warriors as JustBet favourites and look the most likely in Game 6 as Golden State's dream of a three-peat may have limped off the floor with Durant on Monday night.

However, the Warriors are a resilient bunch and, if they manage to pull off a Game 6 victory, the spirit of the Raptors could possibly be broken, especially after they let victory slip though their hands in Game 5. The Warriors would then have the chance to pull off the feat themselves and cement their dynasty.

JustBet offers odds on the NBA and all major sports and sporting events. The schedule for the rest of the NBA Season is listed but visit one of the over 100 locations (or visit www.justbetja.com) for details and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings…… Get in the GAME!

DATE TIME HOME AWAY
16/06/19 20:00 TOR RAPTORS GS WARRIORS Game 7 (if necessary))


JUSTBET NBA CHAMPION 2018-2019
CODE TEAM ODDS
101 TOR RAPTORS 1.35
102 GS WARRIORS 2.90


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