TORONTO RAPTORS v GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The pressure is on. I’m 14/14 so far.
At first glance, you would say that the Golden State Warriors are the firm favourites. They know what it takes to win, and they seem to have elevated their play over the last few games to championship level. Especially guys like Iggy and Draymond who are playing out of their skin right now.
The big questions in this series for them are surrounding the status of Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. Will they play, and if they do, will that even make the team better?
However, when you look at the other side of the coin, the teams who have made the Warriors at least squirm at times during their recent period of dominance have been the Spurs with Leonard and Green, Memphis with Gasol and OKC with Ibaka (OK this one is a reach), so the Raptors shouldn’t be the deers-in-the-headlights like the Bucks might have been. Pun well and truly intended. And they have home court advantage, where their crowd is going to be more fired up than Scott at the Clipsal 500 in an all-you-can-drink tent served by topless waitresses.
Especially Drake, who is behaving the exact opposite of chip-eating Nicholson.
So who is going to win?
“Whoever plays without a big head or a short fuse” – Patrick McCaw
“Who you callin’ short?” – Muggsy Bogues
“Who you callin’ big head?” – Kevin Willis
Game 1 – Golden State 110 Toronto 107 – GSW 1-0
Toronto’s crowd will be at their most wild. Which is a bad sign. Expectations on the Raptors in Toronto will be higher than the CN Tower, and we’ve seen this story before. The Raptors will get close, but will come up short, and leave us wondering why we ever doubted the Warriors.
Steph delivers the first punch with 36 including closing out the game with perfect free throw shooting. The fans leave the arena disappointed after Game 1 for the 173rd time.
Stories come out about whether Kawhi is 100%, or whether it was the Draymond effect after he only scores 20. Siakam, Danny Green and Serge all score under 10.
Game 2 – Toronto 100 Golden State 87 – TIED 1-1
The Raptors are already in a must-win situation, and they pull out the W. The Warriors are too complacent and get blown off the floor early. Klay pulls them back a little in the 2nd quarter but the Raptors maintain a 10-15 point lead the rest of the way.
Kawhi top scores with 37 with help from Lowry, Siakam and Gasol. Klay and Steph both score in the high 20s, but the bench are non existent and that isn’t enough.
Game 3 – Toronto 103 Golden State 101 (OT) – TOR 2-1
The game of the series. Back in Golden State, Cousins makes his debut off the bench to add some punch and the Warriors are full of confidence, but they just can’t put the Raptors away. Steph threatens to blow the game wide open at times, but VanVleet hits some timely 3s and Gasol is a thorn in their side to reel them back in each time.
Both teams play a high quality game which ends in OT, and it’s the Raptors who pull it out in OT after Kawhi takes over and is the front runner for Finals MVP at this point.
Talk after the game is all about whether the Warriors should rush KD back as the saviour, as they played a near perfect game with Steph scoring 33 but still lost to a fired up Kawhi.
Game 4 – Golden State 121 Toronto 99 – TIED 2-2
KD doesn’t play this game or, as it turns out, the whole series. The injury is more serious than first thought. So it’s now up to Iggy to guard Kawhi.
But the Warriors are determined to show they don’t need him.
Curry explodes for 20 in the first quarter, and by half time this one’s over, the first real blowout of the series. Curry finishes with 44 and Iguodala gets credit for stopping Kawhi, who only scores 17 but doesn’t play for most of the 4th.
Game 5 – Golden State 117 Toronto 107 – GSW 3-2
Back in Toronto for a pivotal game 5 which sees DeMarcus start, the Raptors get out to a 10 point lead quick through Lowry and Leonard, but are caught by the Warriors after a run in the 3rd in which Steph is offensively dominant.
He only scores 20 for the game though, with Klay’s early outside shooting keeping them in the game and within Steph’s striking distance.
Game 6 – Golden State 112 Toronto 105 – GSW 4-2
In Oakland with the crowd going crazy, the Warriors don’t let them down. They bring home the Terry Teagle card with a 7 point victory which was close at times but never really looked in doubt.
Steph Curry wins his first NBA Finals MVP. Bogut tweets something.