4 Reasons The Finals Ends Tonight
Five games into their first ever NBA Finals appearance, the Raptors have gone ahead 3-2 in the series. Despite them being in a very good position to close the series out, things could be better. In fact, this series should probably be over by now.
Their two losses were really just games they let slip through the cracks. Game 2 was essentially lost in a five and a half minute stretch to start the second half where the Raptors weren’t able to score the basketball. That one ended up as a five-point loss so literally, any production would have made a difference in the outcome. Game 5, on the other hand, was a close game the whole way and thanks again to another scoring slump the Raptors lost by just one. With three minutes to go, the Raps were up 6 and unable to close it out despite numerous errors by the Warriors.
Obviously, there’s more to those losses than what I pointed out but that doesn’t mean they're not missed opportunities. Missed opportunity or not, Toronto is still in the spot they wanted heading into a game six.
Some say those two losses are going to cost the Raptors the championship but for me, they show their strengths. In fact, there’s a lot of things that fall in Toronto’s favour for the remainder of this series.
Dubs Won’t Make 20 3’s Again
If there’s a team that can do it, it’s this team but my money’s on it not happening. Throughout this postseason the Splash Brothers and Co. have made just over 12 three’s per game on 37.4% shooting. In game 5, 20 on better than 47%. Adding insult to injury is the Raptors shooting a brutal 25% from beyond the arch making only eight which - four less than their playoff average. Winning while being on the wrong end of that big of a three-point deficit is a very tall order yet the Raptors were one field goal away from stealing this one.
Kawhi Will Be Better
His numbers at a glance don’t look too bad but Kawhi didn't have a great game five. In fact, outside of a three to four-minute stretch in the fourth, he didn’t look all that good. With five minutes to go in the game, Kawhi was an abysmal 5/18 from the field. That’s bad by anyone’s standards. To go along with the shooting struggles, Kawhi tallied five turnovers before the end of the fourth even started. To his credit, he did turn it around in the fourth and willed the Raptors ahead with about three minutes remaining. The point is, they only needed a mediocre at best performance from their most important player to be that close to a win. If he's a hair better, they get the win and the championship.
KD Isn’t Playing For The Rest Of The Series
This is the furthest thing from a “hot take” but the Warriors losing Durant really helps the Raptors chances of winning this series. As we saw in the 11 minutes he was on the court, KD sways any game in his team's favour. He’s one of the three best talents in the league and not having to focus on his offence allows the Raptors to put more pressure on both Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.
Defense Wins Championships
The Raptors have the fourth-best defensive rating in these playoffs while Golden State owns the 10th. In four of the past five Finals, the team with the better D has hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy. Toronto has been solid on the defensive end all season and that hasn’t changed with the playoffs.
Generally speaking, I’m not one to make super specific predictions. There’s simply too much that can happen that impacts any given game let alone seven of them. For this series, however, I’m saying the Raptors finish it tonight. There are just so many things the Raptors have going for them and it's hard to believe they let another game slip through the cracks.