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NBA Finals: Warriors Facing Must-Win Situation


NBA Finals: Warriors Facing Must-Win Situation

Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors

The Toronto Raptors have reclaimed control of the NBA Finals after beating the shorthanded Golden State Warriors 123-109 on the road in Game 3.

Stephen Curry did all he could for the Warriors, who were without Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Kevon Looney, as he poured in a playoff career-high 47 points. But the depleted champions simply didn’t have enough to overcome the Raptors’ balanced offensive attack.

As the series moves on to Game 4, the Warriors are seemingly in must-win mode, as another home defeat would see the Raptors vs Warriors betting odds shift significantly toward Toronto’s favour.

Talking Points

Raptors have strength in numbers

“Strength in numbers” may be the Warriors’ motto over the past few years, but it applies more to the Raptors at the moment. Toronto had six players score in double figures in their big Game 3 win, with all five starters scoring at least 17 points.

Even the much-maligned Danny Green, who had 21 points in six games against the Milwaukee Bucks, delivered 18 points on 6-of-10 3-point shooting.

Because of the Warriors’ recent injuries, the Raptors clearly have a significant edge in terms of capable offensive weapons.

Kawhi Leonard is close to producing an automatic 30 points in every game he plays. And while the likes of Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, Green, and Fred VanVleet are not quite as consistent, their upside as scorers is significantly higher than what the Thompson-and-Durant-less Warriors have to offer.

It’s not an exaggeration to think that Norman Powell, who played just six minutes in Game 3, would have been the shorthanded Warriors’ third- or fourth-best scoring option given their current situation.

Powell played a major part in turning around the Bucks series, and the fact that the Raptors haven’t needed him in the Finals is a testament to their overall depth.

If the Warriors continue to be without two of their top three scorers, the Raptors should like their chances of snatching another win at Oakland, which would put the champions in serious trouble.

Will Warriors’ stars return?

The big NBA Finals 2019 news minutes before Game 3 was that Klay Thompson would be active despite suffering a hamstring injury in their Game 2 win. But despite his active designation, the Warriors opted not to play the hurting swingman in order to give him more time to heal.

The Warriors have overcome several injury setbacks during this playoff run, but Thompson’s loss was just one blow too many. Despite Curry’s best efforts, the Warriors clearly didn’t have enough firepower to top Toronto in Game 3.

Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala combined for 29 points and hit four 3-pointers, which is more than is usually expected out of them. But DeMarcus Cousins, who’s just three games back following a long injury layoff, couldn’t provide the offensive spark that the Warriors desperately needed from him as he had just four points on 1-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes.

It’s obvious at this point that the Warriors will need at least one of Durant or Thompson to return in Game 4. And even if both are diminished versions of themselves if they do return, they are still much superior options to what the Warriors have without them and will give them a better chance of evening the series up.

History

The Warriors know all too well what the history of teams that go down 3-1 in the NBA Finals is. In 2016, they infamously became the first team ever to blow such a lead in the Finals as they fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As great as the Warriors are, they would obviously prefer to avoid going down such a steep hole, which is why it won’t be too surprising if they do decide to risk the health of Durant and/or Thompson in Game 4.

If they are healthy enough to play, it won’t make much sense to hold them out for one more game, especially since they’d likely be facing elimination in Game 5 if neither can make it back for Game 4.

What are the odds?

In SBOBET Asian Handicap sports betting, the Warriors are currently favoured by 5.006.00 points. That seems to indicate that Durant and/or Thompson will play in Game 4, with Thompson the more likely of the two.

But even if the two All-Stars do make their return, don’t completely rule out betting on the Raptors on the Asian handicap market. Durant and/or Thompson most likely won’t be close to 100 per cent due to their injuries, which should give Toronto a decent opportunity to at least keep it close on the road.

 

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