The 2019 NBA Finals took a sharp turn in Game 2 as the Golden State Warriors levelled up the series with a five point win against the Toronto Raptors. Now 1-1 after two games, the series will head to the Bay Area where they Warriors will play hosts to the Raptors for Games 3 and 4.
Unfortunately for us and our followers, Klay Thompson eclipsed his overs by two points in Game 2, taking us to 1/1 on our best bets in the Finals. We’ll look to bounce back with a win in Game 3, which tips off on Thursday at 11am (AEST).
The Raptors were really poor in Game 2, showing their Finals inexperience. It was a disappointing way to end their two-game stand in Toronto, although the Game 1 win they secured means they’ll be back home for Game 5.
Pascal Siakam was brought back down to earth after his amazing performance in Game 1, managing just 12 points on 5/18 shooting from 41 minutes. He had plenty of mates that were also well below their best, namely Kyle Lowry. Lowry had 13 points on 4/11 shooting and fouled out in just 28 minutes.
On a positive note, Kawhi Leonard continued his brilliant playoff run, chiming in with 34 points and 14 rebounds. It was a great bounce-back game for ‘The Klaw’ after scorejust23 points on 5/14 shooting in Game 1. Also continuing on their hot streak was Fred VanVleet, who scored 17 points off the bench.
While we do expect the Raptors to come out with more intensity in Game 3, role players often struggle on the road, so we expect Kawhi Leonard to be doing most of the heavy lifting. Kevin Durant will remain out and Klay Thompson will likely miss with hamstring tightness, meaning the Warriors will struggle to stay in front of Leonard. Expect to see him over his 30.5 points line again here.
In contrast to the Raptors, the Warriors showed through their Game 2 performance that they know exactly what it takes to win a championship. They came out of the blocks with great intensity and managed to get the job done, levelling the series at 1-1 on their way back to Oakland.
It wasn’t all good news for the Warriors though, as Klay Thompson went down with a hamstring strain in the fourth quarter and remains ‘questionable’ to play in Game 3. The MRI apparently showed a ‘mild’ strain, which at least means he will be back at some point during the series. Further, Kevin Durant will likely miss again, with a potential comeback in Game 4 on the cards.
All these injury problems mean 2x MVP Steph Curry will have to carry a heavy load on offence in Game 3. If it was just about any other star player in the NBA, we’d be a bit concerned, but that’s not the case for Steph. He’s been on an absolute tear since KD went down, averaging over 35 points per game. Expect the ball to be in his hands even more in Game 3, leading to him covering his Points + Assists line.
There’s still a lot of unknown surrounding the health of a couple of key Warriors players at this point in time. However, they showed in Game 2 that they’re still more than capable of beating the Raptors when they’re short-handed. Boogie Cousins was huge with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) in Game 2 and will need to play heavy minutes again in Game 3, as will combo guard Quin Cook if Klay Thompson is sidelined with injury.
The Warriors enter this clash as 4.5-point favourites at all the major bookies, which we believe they’re highly likely of covering. The Raptors have never played a Finals game on the road and will likely need some time to adjust to the chaotic atmosphere at Oracle Arena.
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