After many games of basketball we are finally here. The NBA Finals, 2019.
The Golden State Warriors are participating in their FIFTH, yes 5TH, consecutive NBA finals. Not even the 90s Jordan Chicago Bulls did that. Just let that sink in for a moment. Amazing in todays day and age. Credit to the organisation.
And the Raptors of Toronto. For years the butt of world wide playoff jokes and featuring in many memes of failure. DeMar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry the driving force, but never accomplishing the holy grail. Representing the well mannered Canadians since the demise of the Grizzlies, something had to give. The franchise was becoming increasingly frustrated with seasons of international flights, customs and ESTA applications and nothing to show for it.
But today, with the aid of guard Drake, the dinosaurs have evolved and well fed. How did they do it? Well, remember I mentioned the Grizzlies? How apt that this mob brought in a veteran with Canadian experience (via Memphis) in Marc Gasol. His big frame has enabled and given confidence to athletic wings and 4s defensively. And defensively, there's someone, or something, called Kawhi Leonard. Spurs gave him away to the Torontians for DeRozen. I have looked through Demars twitter and there are no mentions of statements of congratulations for his former team. This must hurt him. Like when Brett Deledio was traded to the Giants, only to watch the Tigers win the 2017 Premiership (AFL). Kawhi and the foe he vanquished today, Giannis Antemtekombposhuek382djvksero, are the futures of the NBA. May their rivalry last forever (at least until Kawhi leaves for the Lakers).
Making this even more momentous is the fact Toronto (was once called York), has home court advantage!
Here is the schedule
Note all times are in Eastern Australia Time. Please consult your local guides should you not reside on the Eastern seaboard.
So how's the matchup this year? The Raptors have won both contests this season.
In game 44, KD went nuts with 51 points. He was supported by Jerbrenko who had 20 and 9. There was no curry, Green or Bogut. But the Raptors had 6 players in double figures, averaging 19 points each. The game was played in Canada. In overtime.
Game 45, in Oakland, was no contest. Oaklands big three were there, and without KL one would think the Wariors would just rock up and win. But no, they didn't.
That was then.
And then the playoffs came. The warriors took care of business. Clippers in 6, Rockets in 6, and Blazers in a sweep. It looked ominous. Dray Dray is back to his best, and Klay will be looking forward to putting the disappointment of losing a spot (and what 20 million $?) to Kemba Walker in the NBA 3rd team. Curry is just Curry. Doing curry things. Just so everyday. So usual.
The Raptors, beat Orlando, had a hell of a series against the 76ers, and then took a 2-0 deficient against the Bucks. Staring down the barrel the dinosaurs went stuff this and rattled off 4 games and feasted on the bucks carcass. Kawhi announced himself to the world.
It is expected that with KD out, Kawhi takes curry. Can KL keep up with Currys off the ball movement? Can anyone?
C: Bogut Gasol
F: Green Siakam
F: McKinnie? Green
G: Klay Lowry
G: Curry Leonard
This has matchup hell written all over it.
Here are some basic numbers to help you in your assessment
Anyway, who you got for the Chip?