Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors 2019 NBA Finals Preview

2019 NBA Finals Preview

The stage is set for the 2019 NBA Finals. And no, LeBron James will not be part of it for the first time in almost a decade. Instead, it will be Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors who are going to put the three-peat seeking Golden State Warriors to the test.

Nitrogen Sports Blog analyzes both teams before Game 1 of the Finals.

Golden State Warriors

When Kevin Durant went down with a calf injury during the second round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets, concerns about Golden State’s chances of defending their NBA title swirled around Warriors nation.

But Stephen Curry took his game up a notch and Golden State is headed back to the NBA finals for the fifth straight time. Curry has been playing at MVP level since Durant started missing games.

Curry scored at least 36 points in every game since Game 5 of the Rockets series, torching the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals for 36.5 points per contest.

That stretch could serve as a 2019 NBA Finals preview of what Curry is about to unleash in the upcoming series against Toronto. And Steph’s hot shooting apparently spread to the rest of the team as they rolled over the Blazers. If the Warriors keep sinking their shots at that level, they will be tough to beat.

Curry and the Warriors’ sweep of Portland was just what the doctor ordered. The short series give Durant and DeMarcus Cousins some more time to recover from their injuries, but even if those two superstars can’t be healthy enough for Game 1 of the Finals — or for the series — the Warriors have the depth to keep Toronto on its toes. Draymond Green has done an amazing job of covering much of the hole, especially on defense, that Durant and Cousins have left.

Against Portland, Green put up a near triple-double average of 16.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists.

In addition, big man Kevan Looney has also stepped up his game . In fact, he’s got a better net rating in the playoffs than Klay Thompson.

Toronto Raptors

This 2019 NBA Finals preview wouldn’t be complete without discussing Kawhi Leonard. For what he’s one so far in the playoffs, it’s not a crazy thing to say that Leonard is the best basketball player in the world right now.

After sinking an amazing buzzer-beating game winner in Game 7 of the second round to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, he lead the Raptors to a series victory against the Milwaukee Bucks, which speaks volumes about The Klaw’s ability on the court, considering that Toronto had to climb out of a 0-2 hole.

His dominance on both sides of the ball is what puts the Raptors over the top of the East and into the NBA Finals. Kawhi shut down stars likes Giannis Antetokounmpo. But he also averaged more than 30 points throughout the playoffs. If the Raptors can play glove-like defense on Steph Curry and force the rest of the team to beat them, an upset is possible.

Outside of the Indiana Pacers, the Raps have the best defense among all teams that made the playoffs. They are allowing just 99.6 points per game and only 102.5 per 100 possessions.

Toronto has the bullets it needs to take down the Warriors. The Raptors have guard Kyle Lowry, and a deep squad full of quality role players like Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka. With Kawhi at the top of his game and at the top of the basketball world, the 2019 Toronto Raptors can pull of a shocker in the 2019 NBA Finals.

Just when most people thought that Giannis Anteokoumpo and the Bucks were going to be the Warriors’ challenger in the NBA Finals, the Raptors spoiled that narrative by clawing back from a deep hole and eliminating Milwaukee.

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In this 2019 NBA Finals preview, Nitrogen Sports Blog has laid out some of the important keys to each team’s success in their looming showdown.

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