MX23RW : Monday, July 22 21:04:17| >> :600:4693512:4693512:
May 30, 2019 at 2am UK at ​Air Canada Centre
FT
109
118
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
21
28
32
28
25
34
29
30

Raptors take on Warriors in NBA Finals - what you need to know

Raptors take on Warriors in NBA Finals - what you need to know
© Reuters
The Warriors have eyes on a third straight championship.

The Golden State Warriors will be eyeing a third successive crown when they take on the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals.

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant et al have proved too formidable for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven showpiece in the last two years but now face a fresh challenge as they target a hat-trick of titles.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points ahead of the showdown.

Who are the favourites?

On paper, a team with the heavyweights Golden State have in their ranks mean they would normally be regarded as the team to beat but Durant's calf injury will preclude his involvement in the opening game of the series. Fellow NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins is also a doubt because of a torn quadriceps muscle, meaning the odds have shifted marginally towards Toronto for Thursday's opening encounter, which the Raptors will host along with games two, five and seven in the series.

Is Durant's injury significant for the Warriors?

View this post on Instagram

Way to close out #dubnation 📸: @jedjacobsohn

A post shared by 35 (@easymoneysniper) on

Durant, whose future with the Warriors beyond this season is in question, has been MVP in the championship series for the last two years so it would appear his unavailability, for the opening match at least, is a boost for the Raptors. However, the Warriors are on a six-match winning streak since Durant has been sidelined, including a 4-0 sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference decider, so his absence has not been keenly felt.

Who are the ones to watch?

The presence of LeBron James does not loom large over the season-ending tie for the first time in nine years, allowing others the opportunity to step out of his considerable shadow. Two-time NBA MVP Curry is pivotal for Golden State in the initial absence of Durant while Klay Thompson has had another good season. The Raptors have been enhanced by the acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to their ranks from the San Antonio Spurs last year.

How will Toronto handle the pressure

View this post on Instagram

Your Eastern Conference Champions

A post shared by Toronto Raptors (@raptors) on

Division champions in five of the last six seasons, this year marks the first time the Raptors have collected the Eastern Conference title following a hard-fought battle against the Milwaukee Bucks, the top seeds. As such, the next few weeks will be the biggest in the franchise's history since their inception into the NBA as an expansion team in 1995. With former NBA champions Leonard and Green in their ranks, they should have the experience to ease any nerves.

Regular season v play-offs

Toronto may have a slight mental edge after overcoming the Warriors in both of their regular season meetings. They edged the first encounter, 131-128 after overtime, in November despite Durant pouring in 51 points for the defending NBA champions, who were downed 113-93 the following month. However, Golden State are in the Finals for the fifth straight year and will undoubtedly prove a tougher opponent on the grandest stage.

ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'});
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Press Association Sport staff');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '41782778-f9ec-4fcd-aca7-bebbcbbcdf9b');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:basketball,sport:other');
ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': '5 talking points as Toronto Raptors tackle Golden State Warriors in NBA Finals'});

body check tags ::
Share this article now:
Sports Mole Instagram banner

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
/esi/758/0/index.html - esi:0:site:0:-p-: {0}: - :T758:-: {0}: < ! - - T  758 {0} - - >  : 

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account