Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#531 Toronto Raptors 211 vs.
#532 Golden State Warriors -3
Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 9:07pm EDT
Oracle Arena, Oakland
Written by Chris Kubala



#531 Toronto
#532 Golden State


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It’s the final game, win or lose, for the Oracle Arena as a full-blown NBA venue. The Toronto Raptors are on the road as they take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals Thursday night. The teams split the first two games in Toronto with the Raptors taking Game 1, 118-109 before Golden State answered with a 109-104 win in Game 2. Toronto swept Games 3 and 4 at Golden State, winning 123-109 in Game 3 and 105-92 in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead. With their backs to the wall, the Warriors won a back and forth affair in Game 5, hanging on for a 106-105 win Monday night to extend the series. Can Golden State find a way to force a Game 7 or will Toronto claim the first title in franchise history here?

Toronto Raptors Seek to Clinch First Title in Franchise History

Toronto had their chances to pick up the win in Game 5 and clinch the first title in the history of the franchise but let it slip through their fingers. The Raptors now hope to bounce back and avoid a Game 7 at home Sunday. Toronto was down six after the opening quarter and at the half: they trailed by as many as 14 in the third quarter before cutting the deficit back to six at the end of three. In the fourth quarter, the Raptors used a 12-2 run to take a 103-97 lead with 3:28 to play on the strength of Kawhi Leonard ripping off 10 straight points. Unfortunately, Toronto went ice cold the rest of the way, getting outscored 9-2 to end up a point short. Kyle Lowry had a potential series-winning jumper partially blocked by Draymond Green at the buzzer, sending the series back to the west coast. Toronto shot 44.7 percent from the field, including eight of 32 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 43-37. Leonard led the way for the Raptors with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in the loss.

The Raptors have stuck with an eight-man rotation in this series, if you count Norman Powell’s 11 minutes a game as a major factor. Toronto has gotten better balance in their scoring in the series as some of their secondary options have stepped up against the Warriors after being non-factors against Milwaukee. Leonard is still carrying the show, averaging 29.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. He’s been aggressive at getting to the charity stripe as he’s shot 56 free throws in the five games, draining 51 of them.

Marc Gasol has stepped up his game in the series as he puts up 13.8 points and seven rebounds against the Warriors. That comes on the heels of averages of 8.5 points plus 7.2 rebounds while shooting 34 percent against the Bucks and 8.7 points against the 76ers. Fred VanVleet has taken major steps forward in the last couple of rounds: he scored just 14 points in the seven games against the 76ers, shooting a miserable 12.5 percent from the field. He averaged 9.7 points against the Bucks, shooting 57.1 percent from beyond the arc, and has boosted his output to 12.4 points a game against the Warriors. The secondary scoring is critical to take pressure off of Leonard and Pascal Siakam offensively.

Lowry was concerned about the number of three-point attempts that Curry and Thompson fired up in Game 5 and said the team will look to limit that number in Game 6: “I think the fact that Steph and Klay were able to get off 14 and 13 threes is too many. For guys like them, they’re going to make — you give them that many threes, they’re going to make some. So we let them get too many threes off.”

This is Toronto’s first appearance in the NBA Finals, so they’ve never been in a situation where they’ve led 3-1, now 3-2. The pressure is still on Golden State in Game 6, but if the series is tied, even though it goes back to Toronto, the heat is now on Nick Nurse and the Raptors. Should he have called timeout with Toronto up six to get his players extra rest? That was followed by a Golden State 9-2 run.

Golden State Warriors Try to Force Game 7

Golden State was on the wrong side of a 3-1 rally in the NBA Finals three years ago against the Cavaliers. The Warriors took the first step to exorcising that demon as they managed to prevail in Game 5, though it did come with a price. Golden State grabbed a six-point edge after the opening quarter and, through the ups and downs of the next two quarters, maintained that edge heading to the fourth. The Warriors had a rough stretch late in the fourth quarter, finding themselves in a six-point hole with 3:28 to go. Golden State caught a break when Nurse called a timeout for Toronto and regrouped as they reeled off nine straight points to take a three-point edge in the final minute.

Leading by one with under 20 seconds to play, Stephen Curry was whistled for an offensive foul, giving Toronto one last chance. On the final possession, the Warriors forced the ball out of Leonard’s hands and Draymond Green managed to alter the final shot, giving Golden State the win. Golden State shot 46.3 percent from the field, drained 20 of 42 three-point attempts, and overcame 15 turnovers in the game. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Durant, who played for the first time since May 8 against the Rockets, finished with 11 points in 12 minutes but suffered an Achilles injury: early reports say that it could be a torn Achilles tendon.

“It’s a bizarre feeling that we all have right now — an incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time,” Steve Kerr said during his postgame press conference.

The Warriors are dealing with a series of injuries that have forced Kerr to adjust his rotation to playing guys that you normally wouldn’t see logging double-digit minutes in the postseason. In addition to Durant, Kevon Looney is dealing with a 1st degree costal cartilage non-displaced fracture, Andre Iguodala has had a hamstring issue and Shaun Livingston is battling a sore knee. The Warriors got DeMarcus Cousins back after he missed all but one game plus three minutes and change of the first three rounds of the postseason. He’s been a virtual non-factor here as he has put up 7.6 points plus 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 41.9 percent from the floor.

But Cousins was finally productive in Game 5 with 14 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes coming off the bench. “I thought DeMarcus was fantastic tonight,” Kerr said. “He stayed ready. He didn’t get the first call for that second-quarter run. We went to (Andrew) Bogut and then with the injury we knew we needed his scoring and he stayed ready and played a brilliant game.”

Golden State is going to have to get someone, or more than likely, production from multiple guys, to help the Splash Brothers on the offensive end. Curry (32.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists) and Klay Thompson (25 points, 57.1 percent from three-point range) can’t do it all if they want to see Game 7. Looney is questionable for Game 6 as he continues to battle with his collarbone injury that initially had him ruled out for the rest of the postseason.

Regarding Durant’s situation after the star forward confirmed that he suffered a torn Achilles and had surgery, Kerr had the following to say: “Kevin checked all the boxes, and he was cleared to play by everybody involved. Now, would we go back and do it over again? Damn right. But that’s easy to say after the results. When we gathered all the information, our feeling was the worst thing that could happen would be a re-injure of the calf. That was the advice and the information that we had. At that point, once Kevin was cleared to play, he was comfortable with that, we were comfortable with that. So the Achilles came as a complete shock.”

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While the Warriors managed to prevail in Game 5, the price that it came with could dictate the rest of the series. Losing Durant is a huge blow for Golden State as it was his early production that helped set up the late barrage that gave them the victory. One can’t expect the Warriors to drill 20 three-pointers again as they did in Game 5: by comparison, they hit only 18 two-point shots in the game. Toronto shot 13 more free throws and won the rebounding battle in Game 5 yet fell short. You can’t bank on anyone to score for Golden State besides Curry and Thompson: Toronto plays their game and takes advantage of the missing link for the Warriors to win here and take the series to win their first NBA crown.

Prediction: Toronto Raptors +3

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The scoring has been all over the map in this series as it’s been an ebb and flow sort of series. We saw 227 points in Game 1 of the series, 213 in Game 2 and then a high point of 232 points in Game 3. That was followed by a series-low 197 points in Game 4 before Game 5 rebounded to hit at the 211 mark that this contest is sitting at. The biggest factor here is what Cousins does for the Warriors: he puts up 12.5 points plus eight boards a game in the wins for Golden State in the series compared to just 4.3 points and 2.3 boards in the losses. Can the Warriors find a way to get off the mat again and force a Game 7 or will Toronto clinch the title?

The over is 6-2 in the Raptors’ last 8 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game, 9-3 in their last 12 vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 5-2 in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. Golden State has seen the over go 4-1 in their last 5 games following a straight up win, 4-1 in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game and 9-3-1 in their last 13 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game. The over is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Golden State. Given the way the Raptors have been clicking and their ability to shoot the ball, you have to see this one end up edging over the number.

Prediction: Over 211

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.