2. Toronto Raptors vs. 1. Golden State Warriors
When the season got under way, no one knew what to expect from the Toronto Raptors. They were essentially the same team from last season, except they now had Kawhi Leonard instead of DeMar DeRozan. Turns out getting Leonard was a good gamble with having missed most of the previous year with a quad injury that caused a lot of tension with his former team in San Antonio. The moment of this years playoffs has to be Leonard’s game winning shot in Game 7 to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers. He has quickly reestablished himself as one of the best players in the game with his stellar play in these playoffs. However, he has had help along the way with Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam have had big games at various points. Fred VanVleet has been on fire of late. Marc Gasol has been an integral part of the rotation since his arrival at the trade deadline. Everything has fallen into place for a franchise that is making their first appearance in the NBA Finals. They’ll have to continue playing at a high level against the defending champions.
For the fifth straight year the Golden State Warriors have made it to the Finals. This time it has been without Kevin Durant who missed the entire Western Conference Finals. He should be available at some point against Toronto, but they took care of the Trail Blazers with relative ease in a 4-game sweep. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green had huge contributions in that series and will need to do more of the same without Durant. Curry found his stroke and that doesn’t bode well for the Raptors who don’t have a solid group of wing defenders to deal with his shooting prowess. If Andre Iguodala is healthy, he’ll be tasked with slowing down Leonard who might have his hands full on defense having to guard the likes of Thompson, Green or Durant when he returns. Don’t forget that DeMarcus Cousins could make his return as well in the Finals for the Warriors who know what it takes to finish the job in June.
Players to Watch: F Kawhi Leonard and G Stephen Curry
Who Wins: Warriors in 6 games